Critically endangered. Bali mynahs are nearly extinct in the wild because poachers collect them for the illegal pet trade, where they are valued for their striking plumage and beautiful songs. Because of this poaching, Bali mynahs are found almost exclusively in zoos.And it's not surprising. While it was hard to distinguish its "beautiful songs" from amongst the birdhouse cacaphony, it was easy to see why an uninformed or unscrupulous individual might pay big bucks to have such a gorgeous bird in their home. But of course this trade in exotic pets leads down the path to extinction.
Thankfully, zoos such as Lincoln Park keep studbooks and participate in the AZA's cooperative Bali Mynah Species Survival Plan (R). One of the many wonderful things that AZA accredited zoos do is design and run Species Survival Plans for endangered and threatened species all over the world. Zoos and aquariums participate by following plans for keeping and breeding that promote survival of healthy specimens that can be researched and hopefully reintroduced into wild populations. The program(s) also promotes public awareness of wildlife conservation issues. So, while one might be tempted to feel sorry for zoo animals, or see zoos as mere cages, it's better to keep in mind that modern, accredited zoos are essential to wildlife conservation and have advanced light-years in animal welfare. Patronizing your local zoo is more likely than not, a fun way for you to give back to your fellow animals, to help protect wild species and wild places.
And if you're like me, and aspire towards a zoo career, you'll find that McCormick Bird House offers not only a great glimpse into a keeper's work-space (seen above), but pleasant interaction from the keepers themselves. My walk-through came at the end of the day when one would expect to be rushed out by staff, but the classy and kind keeper fellow was patient with our camera, with our oo-ing and ah-ing, and was happy to let us finish at our own pace.
EDIT: Lincoln Park Zoo retweeted my post here!