Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Malaysia-Bound Timber Seized in Malacca Strait

Tempo Interactive, Thursday, 29 April, 2010 | 19:00 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Patrol unit of the provincial customs office in Sumatra sezied about 2,500 logs of timber in the Malacca Strait from a vessel heading to Malaysia early on Thursday (29/4).

A message sent by the Public Communication Chief of the Customs and Excise Directorate in Jakarta Evi Suhartantyo the patrol unit of Tanjung Balai Karimun customs office, North Sumatra, intercepted a nameless and flagless vessel at about 2 am today in Tanjung Sempayan.

The vessel was captained by a Riau resident and was traveling from Batu Pahat, Malaysia. Evi suspected the logs were cut down illegally in Riau Province, no report on the type of the timber.

NALIA RIFIKA

West Java Mountain Observed After Tremor Report

Tempo Interactive, Wednesday, 28 April, 2010 | 19:57 WIB


Gunung Geulis (Beautiful Mountain), located in Tanjung Sari, one of Sumedang's sub district. (Photo: SUMEDANG DAILY PHOTO)

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The geological disaster management office of the Energy and Mineral Resources Department suggested on Wednesday (28/4) the cause of series of unknown explosions and earthquake-like tremors near a mountain in West Java, after one day of field observation following report from residents.

The agency's headquarter in Bandung said the explosions and tremors which according to residents had occurred for five times since Wednesday (21/4) were impacts of seismic movement around Mount Geulis, im Sumedang regency, 40 kilometers east of Bandung .

Residents said the no impacts in previous explosions which heard and felt in four villages, but Wednesday's explosion cracked walls on two houses and broke table glass in a village, head of the Tanjungsari Subdistrict Deni Tanrus said.

Head of The Geological Disaster Mitiagation Office I Gede Suantika said observers had found no cracks on the ground in the area which could harm residents and advised them to remain calm but alert as geological staff continue their work around Mount Geulis with georadar device.

Gede said there were two similar incidents prior to the report from Sumedang the first in Lampung Province and then in Wonogiri Central Java, both in 2006.

SIGIT ZULMUNIR | AHMAD FIKRI

Related Articles:

The Old Map of the Bandung City and the Mountain Range around it

From the map, we can see some of the volcanoes which surround Bandung. They are: Panganten Mt. (on the west side), Burangrang Mt. (on the northwest side), Tangkuban Perahu Mt. (on the north side), Bukit Tunggul Mt. (on the northeast side), Tampomas Mt. (on the east side), Manglayang Mt. (on the east side), Bukit Jarian Mt. (on the east side), Mandalawangi Mt. (on the east side), Guntur Mt. (on the southeast side), Cikuray Mt. (on the southeast side), Papandayan Mt. (on the southeast side), Wayang Mt. (on the south side), Geulis Mt. (on the south side), Malabar Mt. (on the south side), Patuha Mt. (on the southwest side)


Indonesia to tighten imports of female cows from Australia

Antara News, Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia will impose stricter conditions on import of productive female cows from Australia and New Zealand to reduce the risk of getting castoffs or low quality cows, an agriculture ministry official said here on Wednesday.

The director of public veterinary health, Turni Rusli Syamsuddin, said there had been many cases in which cows imported were found to be castoffs or old and unproductive so that caring for them would be unprofitable.

"There have so far been cases of imported cows found to be unproductive and giving birth only once," she said.

In view of that she called on importers to carefully check the conditions of female cows to be imported. "The control of female cow imports is in the hands of importers," she said.

Turni said the government urged an increased control so that the self-sufficiency program in meat supply could be met.

A House Commission IV member, Siswono Yudhohusodo, shared the view saying that female cows imported so far from Australia had been engineered so that they could only give birth only once.

As a result Indonesia could not conduct breeding to obtain quality cattle and has to import slaughter cows.

Siswono who is former chief of the Association of Indonesian Farmers said breeding business did not attract much in Indonesia because it give small profit compared to fattening business although breeding was the key to self-sufficiency in supply set by the government to be achieved in 2014.

In view of that Siswono appealed to the government to provide incentives to attract people to breeding business, such as a free of charge artificial insemination service.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Over 2 million hectares of forests illegally shifted to plantations

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 04/28/2010 5:28 PM

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said on Wednesday that over 2 million hectares of forests had been converted illegally into oil palm plantations in the country.

Zulkifli made the statement during his meeting with the Anti Judiciary Mafia Task Force at the forestry ministry’s office.

He said that the illegal plantations firms were operated both in protected forests and conservation areas.

“We have mapped the areas of illegal plantations operated in forest areas,” he told the task force.

Task force head Kuntoro Mangkusubroto with all members attended the meeting.

Minister warned that any delay of law enforcement on the illegal oil palm plantations would further accelerate forest damages.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the task force to root out mafia in forestry sector.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Animal Activists Bemoan Fate of Gili Island Horses

Jakarta Globe, April 26, 2010

Workers in tourist island, Lombok, load boxes in Gili Meno Village. (Antara/Budi Afandi)

The Gili Islands off the coast of Lombok are famed for their near pristine coral, world-class diving and horse-drawn carriages that ply the islands’ roads in the absence of motorized transportation.

However, animal rights groups are claiming that these very horses are being cruelly mistreated by the islanders and it could threaten the tourist industry on Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno.

The Jakarta Animal Aid Network and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urge the Ministry of Tourism “to take action to improve the condition of the animals,” JAAN spokesperson Femke den Haas said in a press release on Monday.

“If not the number of tourists will decrease,” she was quoted by Detik.com as saying.

She said both organizations had received a number of complaints, which JAAN had then investigated.

The investigation revealed that the animals were treated poorly, and often given neither shelter nor fresh water among a host of other violations.

She said the local government needed to formulate standard procedures regarding how to treat the animals.

Culture or Cruelty?

Jakarta's carriage driver Sain brushes down Imron, a horse he bought for only Rp 3 million ($249) because of its badly emaciated condition. (Photo: Titania Veda, JG)


Related Article:

Culture or Cruelty?

Femke den Haas: Rescuing endangered animals


Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN)

Jl. Jeruk Purut Buntu 2A

Cilandak, South Jakarta /

Tel: (021) 7802556

jakartaanimalaid@gmail.com


Monday, April 26, 2010

After the Aceh Quake, Mud Volcano Causes Concern

Jakarta Globe, Nurfika Osman, April 26, 2010

A new undersea mud volcano is erupting off Aceh following a massive earthquake there earlier this month, a 15-member geological assessment team sent to the province has confirmed.

Officials, however, were quick to add that the new volcano was unlikely to pose a threat.

“Based on our visual observations, the volcano is not dangerous. But we are going to conduct an in-depth analysis this week of the samples we collected, so we will have a definitive answer,” said Ridwan Djamaluddin, director for mitigation and regional development at the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT).

Ridwan said the volcano, located near Banyak Island off the coast of Singkil district, was currently 30 meters in diameter and eight meters tall.

Local residents have claimed the seabed in the area has risen dramatically since the 7.2-magnitude earthquake on April 7.

Before the quake, the waters around Gosong Turak reef were 20 meters to 30 meters deep, but now were just five, said Mufliadi, a Banyak Island resident.

Villagers have reported seeing an undersea fissure spewing out mud and rocks, and are worried an undersea volcano could be forming, he said.

Mufliadi said the phenomenon was first noted a week after the earthquake by a fisherman who had been trawling for sea cucumbers in the waters around Pailana Island, just off Banyak Island.

“He was shocked and came back to tell us what he had seen because that site is a prime fishing spot for local fishermen,” but now there are no fish there, Mufliadi said.

The geologists, who traveled to the province last week at the request of Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf, confirmed there were no fish in the area.

“The fish around the area have gone and the water has become turbid,” Ridwan said, adding that the water temperature had risen from 27 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees.

To prevent worried residents from fleeing the area, Ridwan said the team would work quickly to analyze the samples it had collected.

“We still have to conduct an in-depth analysis of this,” he said, adding that if the mud and rocks contained methane, it would be dangerous.

Related Articles:

Undersea Anomalies in Aceh to be Studied

Fearful Aceh Islanders Tell of Massive Sea Change in the Wake of Earthquake


Scientists Discover Underwater Asphalt Volcanoes


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Villagers to Kill Disturbing Sumatran Elephants

Kompas, Minggu, 25 April 2010 | 03:23 WIB

In this Thursday, May 7, 2009 file photo, conservationists and officials inspect the carcass of an elephant suspectedly poisoned to death by poachers near Pekanbaru, Riau province, Sumatra island, Indonesia. Two endangered elephants found dead on Indonesias Sumatra island are believed to be the victims of poachers targeting the animals for their prized ivory tusks, a park official said Monday, March 29, 2010.

TAPAKTUAN, KOMPAS.com - Dozens of residents from several villages in East Trumon sub-district, South Aceh district, threatened to kill Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) that destroyed local plantation areas. The wild elephant herd has destroyed dozens of hectares of palm oil trees, bananas, betel nuts, coconuts and local plantations since January, said an East Trumon resident, Syarifuddin, here Saturday.

"We have reported the rampage to the sub-district office and the Natural Resources Conservation Body (BKSDA) but received no response that it will be addressed. So it would not be our responsibility if we later intoxicated or speared the animal," he said.

There have been a lot of material damages the animal has caused suffering the residents and they have no idea where else to complain, he said. Jambo Dalem village chief, Tengku Baili, earlier said that the man-elephant conflicts have resulted in dozens of people coming to his house threatening to hunt down and kill these animals.

The chief said that the elephant-human conflict in the East Trumon sub-district has lasted for about seven years and caused a casualty, after someone was trampled by the elephant in early 2006. East Trumon sub-district chief, H Lahmuddin, said that the conflict has a negative impact on the villagers’ economy, because the crops they harvest are not good.

"I estimate the material losses caused by disturbance of elephants during the last seven years have reached hundreds of million rupiahs. We expect the government to build an elephant prevention post in order to minimize the loss," said Lahmuddin.

Besides Jambo Dalem village, a herd of elephants has also entered the residential population in Naca, Pinto Rimba and Kapa Sesak village.

"Many attempts have been made to drive away the big animals, but have not shown the expected results," he said,

He is hoping for some relevant parties to immediately overcome the problem by driving the herd back to their habitats.

"If it is not done immediately, I am afraid people will take the law into their own hands," he said.

Source: AP

Magnitude 6.4 quake jolts Ambon

Antara News, Sunday, April 25, 2010 00:41 WIB

Ambon (ANTARA News) - A 6.4 maginitude quake shook Ambon and its sorrounding areas in Maluku at around 4.41pm on Saturday.

The quite strong quake caused people to flee in panic especially those staying in storied buildings but it had claimed no lives.

"We were just working on the second floor when it happened and we fled because the tremor was quite strong," John Soplanit, a local journalist, said.

The head of data and information of the local Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics, Irwan Slamet, said the quake was at a depth of 30 kilometers under the sea but it did not have the potential to cause a tsunami.

The epicenter was 29 kilometers southeast of Obi Island in the district of South Halmahera, North Maluku province.

This was not the first quake recorded so far. On March 14 2010 a 7.0 magnitude quake was recorded at southeast of Obi Island causing 39 houses damaged in Kelo and Sam villages in East Obi, he said.

He said the quake came from the subduction of Aurasia and Indoaustarlia plates in Seram waters. "Subduction often occurs in Maluku and therefore quakes also often happens there," he said.

Friday, April 23, 2010

RI Starts Looking At Green Economy Strategy

Antara News, Fardah, Friday, April 23, 2010 16:34 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when addressing the Global Ministerial Environment Forum in Bali last February, called for the adoption of a green economy development strategy which was pro-growth, pro-job and pro-poor.

"Striving for a Green Economy, we will more quickly mainstream ecological concerns into our economic decision-making. This can ensure sustainable and inclusive growth and the achievement of the MDGs. Thus we have a clear opportunity to reshape our economic systems and to introduce 'green growth' as a global paradigm," he told roughly 100 environment ministers attending the forum.

About two months after the president`s speech, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, also in Bali, last April 20, 2010, announced that the Second United Indonesia Cabinet had launched a green economic program.

"The green economic program is part of Indonesia`s sustainable development plan which is pro-growth, pro-job, and pro-poor," the finance minister told the press at the Tampak Siring presidential palace, Bali, early this week.

However, Indonesia needs technological innovations, and competitive as well as productive data for the creation of a green economy, she added.

"In a working group with a number of technologists, innovators and private businessmen we discussed efforts to improve competitive and productive data, as well as technological innovations in order to strengthen our green economy efforts," the finance minister said.

The government plans to intensify synergy and partnership with research and development institutions to form an innovative development forum.

To support the efforts to achieve a green economy, the cabinet had drawn up programs on food resilience through implementation of sustainable agriculture, sustainable forestry management, efficiency and renewable energy usage, clean technology support, waste management, efficient and low carbon transportation management and green infrastructure development.

Sri Mulyani was at Tampak Siring Palace early this week to attend a national coordinating meeting chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and participated in by all cabinet ministers, governors, provincial legislative councils (DPRD) chairmen, state enterprises (BUMN) leaders, and state institution officials.

A green economy is a new paradigm that, in many ways, is beginning to be seen globally.

The world is slowly moving towards a green economy, according to Economist Pahvan Sukdhev, who is a special adviser to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)`s Green Economy Initiative.

"And, what you see is a new economy breaking through what`s breaking down : that heavy, industrialized, over-ambitious, over-productive, over-consumptive model, which is actually going to completely destroy our chances of survival in the future. And, what the green economy is, it`s an alternative that doesn`t do all that," Pahvan said at the Global Ministerial Environment Forum organized by UNEP in Bali, last February.

Pahvan Sukdhev said that the green economy can generate growth. The International Lthe abor Organization estimates that renewable energy could generate up to 20 million new jobs, if it were to represent 30 percent of the worldwide energy output.

Malaysia, Indonesia`s immediate neighbor, also looks at the potential of developing green technology as a future contributor to the country`s economy.

The country would need to address legislation issues in order for the renewable energy industry to be able to gain revenue and contribute to the country, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Mukhriz Mahathir said in Kuala Lumpur, recently.

For now, the green technology only plays a minimal part in Malaysia`s economy compared to other countries like Germany and Korea, he said.

Green economy is necessary because of Malaysia`s commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emission up to 40 per cent by 2020, he said.

South Korea has been considered a leading country in terms of green growth in the international community. President Lee Myung-bak signed the Framework Act on Low Carbon Green Growth on Jan. 13, 2010.

In close collaboration with private enterprises, the Lee Myung-bak administration will invest some 107 trillion won ($95 billion) to implement the green growth policy based on its grand five-year plan from 2009 to 2013, for the sake of creating new growth engines and helping the nation`s industries adapt to climate change.

In December 2007, in fact, when Bali was about to host the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged leaders to create a global framework to promote green economics and development.

Writing an Op-Ed in The Washington Post early December 2007, the Secretary-General said "Handled correctly, our fight against global warming could set the stage for an eco-friendly transformation of the global economy - one that spurs growth and development rather than crimps it, as many nations fear."

Like the Industrial Revolution, the technology revolution and the modern era of globalization, the Secretary-General observed that the world is on the cusp of a new age of green economics.

Ban said that rather than suffer from a transition to a green economy, growth may in fact gain momentum through the creation of new jobs as investment in zero-greenhouse gas energy surges.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has estimated that global investment in zero-greenhouse energy will reach $1.9 trillion by 2020 - a figure the Secretary-General called "seed money for a wholesale reconfiguration of the global industry."

As for Indonesia, a study analyzing the impacts of switching to a low-carbon economy has shown that investing more in energy efficiency, reducing the use of coal-based fuels and stopping deforestation, could improve per capita incomes and help ease the level of unemployment.

The joint study was carried out by Padjadjaran University, the Center for Economic and Development Studies (CEDS), Strategic Asia and the office of the State Minister for the Environment.

The study found that these benefits would be gained by increasing energy efficiency by 25 percent, reducing the use of coal-based fuels by 50%, implementing a US$50 per ton tax on carbon production, and reducing the rate of deforestation by 10 percent.

"The environmental and economic benefits of such measures are huge. It would cut 177 million tons of CO2 emissions and increase GDP by 2.7 percent [Rp 133 trillion] per year," Arief Anshory Yusuf, a researcher from Padjadjaran University told The Jakarta Post.

Yusuf said that green economy benefits could create new jobs for more than 3 million people, and the number of poor people would be reduced by more than 4 million per year.

Meanwhile, Pahvan Sukdhev believed that the change called for to create green economies is on a scale similar to the industrial revolution, but with a heightened sense of urgency, because of the threat of climate change.

He also believed that GDP growth is never a solution to poverty. However, he reminded that educating the public is important, but above all, a green economy requires a high political commitment that the world has yet to show.

Indonesia`s green economy strategy is still in a very early stage, but it should be implemented seriously and soon if the government wants to meet its commitment to a voluntary gas emission reduction target of 26 percent on a business-as-usual basis by 2020, or 41 percent with enhanced international assistance.

News focus: forest mafia fight focused on Sumatra, Kalimantan

Antara News, Andi Abdussalam, Friday, April 23, 2010

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government`s joint team of investigators from the police force, prosecutor`s office and the ministry of forestry will focus its first phase investigations on alleged forest mafia cases in North Sumatra and Central Kalimantan provinces.

"We have set 2010 as the year of law enforcement in the forestry field. In the first phase, investigations will focus on alleged forest crimes in North Sumatra and Central Kalimantan," Aulia Ibrahim, forest investigation and protection director of the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Preservation (PHKA), said.

In the two provinces, a number of companies are believed to have annexed state forests. In North Sumatra, for example, there are 21 plantation companies which have allegedly annexed state forests. In the first phase, five major firms of the 21 companies will become the operation target of the team.

"Two owners of the five firms have been investigated and those of the other three companies are now in the process of being named suspects," Aulia Ibrahim said.

The joint team is launching operations against forest crimes following President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s instruction that mafia behind forest crimes should be eliminated.

The president also instructed all regional government heads, namely governors and district heads to help protect forest in their respective regions.

According to Aulia Ibrahim, all of the regional government heads are also ordered to take stock of damaged forests for rehabilitation purposes. All forest squatters must be expelled from production, protected and conserved forest areas.

"All forest squatters must get out of production and protected forest areas controlled by the governmet," Aulia Ibrahim said.

In an effort to fight all kinds of forest crimes in the current year of law enforcement in the forestry fields, the government will act indiscriminately upon all forest offenses.

"All violators will be acted upon indiscriminately," Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said meanwhile. The minister even disclosed that the joint team was also conducting an investigation into an alleged forest mafia case at his own ministry.

However, Zulkifli Hasan is still waiting for the results of the investigation. "The joint team of investigators from the police, the prosecutor`s office and forestry ministry is still carrying out its investigation. I could not yet disclose how many names now being examined," the minister said after granting a 14,000 hectare community forest concession for five thousand farmers in Lampung province on Thursday.

The investigation is being launched to follow up a report by a number of non-governmental organizations about the presence of forest mafia in the forestry sector. However the minister acknowledged that he has not received any report so far about the results of the joint team`s investigation.

"I cannot yet talk a lot about the matter before the team accomplished its task. It is unethical for me to speak about it while the team has not yet finished its investigation," the minister said.

The results of the investigation will be reported to the president. Believing that forest mafia did exist, the president in a cabinet meeting last week ordered the judicial mafia task force to examine various forest offenses whose cases received lenient punishment or even acquitted by the court.

"I believe a mafia is behind the illegal logging activities. I call on the judicial mafia eradication task force to also tackle this problem, reduce and put an end to these activities," the president said before leaving for Hanoi, Vietnam, to attend an Asean summit recently.

According to data, out of a total of 92 illegal logging cases handled in courts recently, 49 ended in acquittals, 24 with jail sentences averaging only one year and 19 with jail sentences between one and two years.

"This will not have a deterrent effect. Therefore, the President has ordered the task force to examine the court verdicts to see why they were so lenient," Informatics and Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring said after the cabinet meeting last week.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said that the mafia task force would carry out auditing in all regions where illegal logging were still rampant and where forests had been turned into plantations without licenses from the forestry ministry.

"The task force will be fielded to carry out auditing of cases suspected to involve abuse of power by regional government heads, such as the issuance of licenses for conversions of production and protected forest functions, and conversion of forests into oil palm plantations," the minister said.

After all, there are many forest areas and plantation areas are overlapping with each other. In West Kalimantan for example, the local government of a certain district has issued licenses for plantation firms whose areas overlap those of forests.

"In a certain district, the local government has issued a license for plantation firms to operate on hundreds of thousands of hectares which overlap forest areas," Head of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation of West Kalimantan Forestry Service, Sunarno said.
But he reluctant to mention the name of the district concerned in West Kalimantan.

He revealed that data in 2008 showed the local district government had issued licenses for 42 plantation firms, with areas covering 300,000 hectares. These areas overlapped forest areas.

For this year, the latest data showed that the local government had issued licenses for 84 plantation companies. "Logically, the plantation areas overlapping those of state forests must be wider than the 300,000 hectares," Sunarno said.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

‘Love-Dart’ Slug Among New Species Discovered on Borneo

Jakarta Globe, April 22, 2010

The seven-centimeter flat-headed frog, one of a number of new species discovered in the "Heart of Borneo" shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. ((AFP Photo/WWF Malaysia)

Wildlife researchers said on Thursday that they have discovered 123 new species on Borneo island, including a lungless frog, the world’s longest insect and a slug that fires “love darts” at its mate.

Conservation group WWF listed the new finds in a report on a remote area of dense, tropical rainforest that borders Indonesian, Malaysia and Brunei on Borneo.

The three governments in 2007 designated the 220,000-square-kilometre area as the “Heart of Borneo” in a bid to conserve the rainforest, though the Indonesian military is pushing to build a railway through it, ostensibly for “economic development” but which critics say is to ramp up illegal logging.

“We have been finding on average three new species a month and about 123 over the last three years, with at least 600 new species found in the last 15 years,” Adam Tomasek, head of WWF’s Heart of Borneo initiative told AFP from Brunei.

“The new discoveries just show the wealth of biodiversity on Borneo island and the promise of many more future discoveries that could eventually help cure illnesses like cancer and AIDS and contribute to our daily lives,” he said.

The “Heart of Borneo” region is home to 10 species of primate, more than 350 birds, 150 reptiles and amphibians and about 10,000 plants that are not found anywhere else in the world, the report said.

Among the finds are a seven-centimeter (three-inch) flat-headed frog, known as the “Barbourula kalimantanensis”, discovered in 2008 and which breathes entirely through its skin instead of lungs.

Researchers in the same year also discovered “Phobaeticus chani”, the world’s longest stick insect with a body 36 centimeters long. Only three specimens of the creature have ever been found.

Another interesting find was a long-tailed slug that uses “love darts” made of calcium carbonate to pierce and inject a hormone into a mate to increase the chances of reproduction.

“We know that it is impossible for the three governments not to have development in mining, oil palm plantations and logging in the area,” Tomasek said.

“What we want to have is a balance so that we have a foundation of conservation and sustainable development in order to protect this unique site for future generations,” he added.

Agence France-Presse

NGOs to meet taskforce, questions seriousness in probing illegal logging mafia

Bagus BT Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 04/22/2010 1:28 PM

A number of NGOs grouped under the "Anti-Forestry Mafia Coalition" are scheduled to meet the Judicial Mafia Taskforce at 2 p.m. on Thursday to discuss the plan to eradicate the illegal logging mafia.

"In the meeting with the taskforce, we will question President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's seriousness to tackle the mafia in the forestry sector," Indonesia Corruption Watch deputy coordinator Emerson Yuntho said.

In his speech earlier this month, Yudhoyono vowed to crack down on the illegal-logging mafia.

He also invited NGOs concerned with forestry and environment to work together with the government to save Indonesia's forest.

However, Emerson said, the government had yet to show concrete actions.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Financial Transaction Analysis and Reports Center (PPATK) office in Central Jakarta.

The coalition will submit data about some alleged illegal logging cases to the taskforce, mostly in Sumatra.

"We will urge the taskforce to probe 14 illegal logging cases in Riau which the investigations have been stopped by the police. The Riau cases have allegedly caused Rp 2.8 trillion [US$310.8 million] in state-losses.

"We will also share data we have collected about 15 methods of forestry mafia practice," Emerson said.

The NGOs claimed that the illegal logging practices across the country had caused at least Rp 30 trillion in annual state losses.

Indonesian Women’s Efforts to Protect Planet Overlooked

Jakarta Globe, Fidelis E Satriastanti, April 21, 2010

Women making handicrafts from plastic waste in Surabaya. Their efforts to protect the environment, however, have been lauded by activists but are often overlooked by governments, activists say. (Antara Photo/Eric Ireng)

Saving the environment, as they say, starts in the home, and for some women even a small contribution can make a difference.

Ima, a 41-year-old working mother, for instance, has always taught her young children not to leave the faucet running or lights on around the house.

“Most of the time, I am very, very strict with my kids about saving water and saving electricity — not only to control expenses, but I want them to be grateful and appreciate what they have and others don’t,” she said.

“This is also my way of introducing lessons about nature and the environment to my kids, because you can’t really expect them to grasp the idea of saving the environment through sophisticated scientific jargon.”

Simple things, Ima said, not only contributed to present conservation efforts but also to ensuring the planet’s preservation for future generations.

“I believe that what we’re trying to do in our homes will eventually have an effect on saving the earth, no matter how little our actions are,” she said.

This week, as the country marks Earth Day today and Kartini Day on Wednesday, in honor of Indonesia’s first women’s rights advocate, environmental activists have been highlighting the crucial role women play in protecting Mother Earth.

Rotua Valentina Sagala, a campaigner for both women’s rights and the environment, said women were often undervalued when it came to environmental issues.

“Women’s role in protecting the environment is very significant, for the fact that, in Indonesia, lots of women are still living in rural areas where they are more in touch with nature. They usually also have more enthusiasm for environment-related issues, such as reforestation,” she said.

Women in rural areas, said Valentina, who is the founder of the Women’s Institute Foundation, were rich in local wisdom that placed women in the nurturing role of keeping the balance between human beings and nature.

“One of women’s special abilities is to detect early problems. Women have more sense for prevention rather than cure,” she said. “ But this has never been noticed by the government, even on an international level.”

Puspa Dewi, from the Women’s Solidarity organization, said women’s environmental roles had been marginalized in society, particularly in rural areas.

“Women-specific roles have been disappearing with advances in technology, especially for rural women, where one of their specific tasks was to sort and choose seeds,” she said.

“Their job was replaced by tools that are mostly operated by men, such as tractors.”

Puspa said the government’s preoccupation with quantified data meant that it had failed to address the growing gender inequality in society.

“For instance, the government only looks at how much land or agriculture has been changed into sites for mining, causing women to lose their jobs or, additionally, maybe leaving them to face abuse from their husbands because they are stressed from losing their jobs as farmers,” she said.

“This is not to mention health issues because of these changes. These are the indicators and results of environmental destruction, but this is never taken into account,” she added, saying that many women still faced difficulties speaking up on these issues.

Puspa said gender sensitivity was needed at the policy-making level. “It means that all of our policies should also need to measure how it impacts on women’s roles and their livelihood sources,” she said.

“We are not talking about having a 50-50 share on places in government anymore.”

Meanwhile, Valentina criticized the State Ministry for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection for failing to promote women’s interests in environmental issues.

“There was a movement by Ani Yudhoyono to plant one million trees, but unfortunately it just turned out to be a ceremonial activity,” she said, referring to the first lady. “Women’s issues, instead, should have been integrated into strategic environmental planning, starting from the planning stage to implementation, until evaluation. Women should even be involved in discussions at the international level.

“Through gender mainstreaming in this process, we will only then know where women stand in these areas.”

Valentina said the government should be more proactive in recruiting women to help solve lingering development problems, including environmental issues.

“On the domestic front, there was a presidential instruction in 2000 to promote gender mainstreaming in national development, which should be used to reinforce women’s involvement in environmental issues,” she said.

But she added that women’s roles should not be differentiated between domestic and global interests. “What those women do in their homes, starting with saving electricity or water, is actually to save this planet. There’s a strong connection between so-called domestic chores and global interests,” she said.

“But again, leaders and politicians fail to acknowledge these simple actions on climate change that are mostly done by women, while they continue to pronounce loudly that saving the earth should start in the home.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rare Sumatran Rhino Caught on Camera on Borneo Island

Jakarta Globe, April 21, 2010

This rare image of a Sumatran rhino believed to be pregnant was captured in Malaysia's wilderness with wildlife experts saying it bodes well for the future of the near-extinct species. (AFP Photo/WWF-Malaysia/Borneo Species Program)

A rare Sumatran rhino, thought to be pregnant, has been caught on camera in Malaysian Borneo, and wildlife experts said on Wednesday that a new calf would be a lifeline for the near-extinct species.

Just 30 rhinos remain in the wild in Borneo island, which is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, and researchers are only able to monitor the population through images captured on remote camera traps.

Images of the rhino, “believed to be a pregnant female, estimated to be below 20 years” were captured by a camera trap in February, the Malaysian arm of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - said in a statement.

“There are so few Sumatran rhinos left in the world that each calf represents a lifeline for the species,” international rhino expert Terry Roth said.

The Borneo sub-species is the rarest of all rhinos, distinguished from other Sumatran rhinos by its relatively small size, small teeth and distinctively shaped head.

The Sumatran rhinoceros is one of the world’s most endangered species, with few left on Sumatra, the north of Borneo island and peninsular Malaysia.

Laurentius Ambu, wildlife director for Malaysia’s Sabah state, where the female rhino was spotted, said two rhino calves had also been seen in a similar area and urged the government to do more to enforce laws against poaching.

“Habitat protection and enforcement have been recognised as the main strategies in ensuring the survival of the rhino population in forest reserves,” he said.

The WWF said the rhino’s future on Borneo island would depend on preserving sufficient forest reserves for the animal.

Raymond Alfred, head of the WWF’s Borneo Species programme said data from an ongoing rhino monitoring survey programme showed the animal’s home range was affected by the expansion of palm oil plantations.

Malaysia is the world’s second-largest exporter of palm oil after Indonesia, and the two countries account for 85 percent of global production.

RI to apply for UN fund to help local farmers

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 04/21/2010 9:03 AM

Indonesia is eyeing an international fund to help local farmers adapt to climate change as the UN issued its first call for climate change-prone countries to apply for the adaptation fund.

The government said Indonesia would apply for the adaptation fund to help local farmers and people living in coastal areas who were also vulnerable to rising sea levels to deal with climate change.

The National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) said the grant would be used to improve weather predictions and create new varieties of crops resistant to extreme climate changes.

“We are drafting a proposal with concrete programs to apply for the fund,” Armi Susandi, the DNPI deputy chairman of the adaptation working group, said.

The adaptation fund, a self-standing fund established under the Kyoto Protocol, was derived from a 2 percent share of proceeds from carbon trading in developing countries.

The World Bank serves as trustee for the fund.

Developing countries can apply for small-sized projects worth up to US$1 million and regular projects with a total grant of more than $1 million.

The final say on the countries eligible to receive the grant is the fund’s executive board.

“We are making history by granting funds to finance concrete adaptation projects and programs in developing countries, which are based on their national priorities, and may be financed through the ground-breaking direct access modality,” Farrukh Iqbal Khan, the chairman of the Adaptation Fund Board, said in a statement when launching the call for proposals last week.

“We expect to have funds of $400 million available by 2012, which means the Adaptation Fund does not have the resources to fully match the enormous adaptation needs of developing countries, but it is an important step forward.”

Developing countries have repeatedly called on developed nations to provide money for the fund that could be used by developing countries to adapt to climate change.

The head of adaptation at the Environment Ministry, Dadang Hilman, said his office was unaware of the announcement by the UN.

“We will check on it. We also want to crosscheck the countries eligible to apply for the fund,” he said.

Dadang added that any adaptation fund should be focused on tackling water resource problems, including for the agriculture sector.

The government has said that one of the sectors likely to be most affected by delayed rainfall and prolonged periods of drought was agriculture.

The delays in the rainy season caused longer dry spells in many areas across the country, leaving millions of people without water.

Shorter rainy seasons with heavier rainfall have also led to more floods and landslides.

The director of climate and energy at WWF Indonesia, Fitrian Ardiansyah, said that it was time for Indonesia to also play a role in determining the allocation of the adaptation fund.

He said that the management of the fund would also determine the survival of billions of people on the planet.

“Indonesia is vulnerable to the severe impacts of climate change as it still relies on natural resources such as the agriculture, fishery and tourism sectors,” he said.

Hundreds of houses in n Maluku submerged

Antara News, Wednesday, April 21, 2010 01:22 WIB

Ternate, N Maluku (ANTARA News) - Several hundred houses in North Maluku have been inundated over the past week after torrential rains showered some sub-districts in the province.

Among the flooded sub-districts were South Jailolo, West Halmahera district, and Oba in Tidore Kepulauan district.

According to North Maluku province`s natural disaster management agency here Tuesday, several hundred houses in three villages of South Jailolo sub-district were submerged.

The flood was caused by the overflowing of South Jailolo rivers following the heavy rainfall over the past week. As a result, tens of local residents` houses were reportedly damaged.

In helping the flood victims in South Jailolo sub-district, Head of West Halmahera district`s social welfare office, Kurnia Duwila, said his men had distributed food and kitchen utensils among the flood victims.

The flood also inundated tens of local residents` houses and farms in Oba sub-district, Tidore Kepulauan district.

The one-meter-high flood also damaged residents` fish ponds.

The torrential rains showering various parts of Tidore Kepulauan district over the past week had also triggered landslides but there were no fatalities in the natural disaster.

The North Maluku meteorology and geophysics office had warned local residents of the high intensity of rains in the province between April and May.

A local environmentalist, Djafar, said the floods that inundated several hundred houses in North Maluku should be warning to the government about the degraded environmental condition and deforestation.

Therefore, the local government needed immediately to plant trees and take firm action against illegal loggers in North Maluku, he said.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Latest Mudflow Bubble on Sidoarjo Roadway Raises Fears of Explosion

Jakarta Globe, Amir Tejo, April 18, 2010

Workers cordoning off a fresh mudflow bubble. Officials say the eruption of mud contains unsafe levels of methane, which could be sparked by a cigarette. (Antara Photo/Eric Ireng)

Sidoarjo, East Java. Another bubble has emerged on the Porong highway near Sidoarjo in East Java after the appearance of gas bubbles and mud in the middle of the highway last week.

The new bubble, near Porong fruit market, is just 80 meters from the earlier one, said Acmad Zulkarnaen, spokesman of the Sidoarjo Mud Flow Mitigation Agency (BPLS).

It is the 169th to appear since the devastating mud flow eruption on May 29, 2006.

The latest fissure contains flammable gas, and its proximity to railway tracks has caused safety concerns among officials.

Herry Winarno, the acting spokesman of state railway company Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) in East Java, is calling on train passengers not to throw cigarette butts out the window between the Tanggulangin area of Sidoarjo and Porong.

“This prohibition was issued to anticipate unwanted situations because those bubbles are easily flammable,” Herry said.

The earlier bubble, in the middle of the highway, which is the main road linking Surabaya to towns in the east such as Pasuruan and Probolinggo, consists of mud and gas. An analysis by the BPLS showed that the gas contained methane.

“Flammable gas of the methane type was clearly detected,” Achmad said.

He added that the methane content was fluctuating, sometimes exceeding safe levels.

Achmad said possible danger came from the carelessness of road users, who often threw lit cigarette butts out of vehicle windows or lit up anywhere.

“We are coordinating with the police to minimize the danger,” he said.

The BPLS and the Sidoarjo district police have already issued a ban on tossing cigarette butts along the Porong highway.

The areas around the bubbles have been cordoned off from traffic.

The appearance of the bubbles on and around the highway makes it more urgent than ever to press ahead with plans for another highway to connect Siring to Porong.

Achmad said the BBPLS had also told local residents whose land would be needed for the new highway to agree with the price offered by the local district administration so that construction could begin as soon as possible.

“We hope that those people who are still reluctant to release their land soon agree to the price offered by the district administration,” Achmad said.

The Siring-Porong alternative highway was scheduled to be completed this year, but so far only 65 percent of the needed land has been acquired.

The price of the purchase of another 24 hectares has been agreed but the deals have not yet gone ahead.

The seven-kilometer road will need about 124 hectares for completion. Many landowners want more for their land than that being offered by the local administration.

The road that links the Tanggulangin subdistrict in Sidoarjo to Gempol in Pasuruan district through Porong and Jabon will also be upgraded with a 10-meter-wide, 600- meter-long flyover in Porong.