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)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Editorial: Coal mining damages forests

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 06/29/2010 9:33 AM | Editorial

Indonesia has been the world’s largest exporter of seaborne thermal coal since 2005, enjoying the advantages of low production costs as most of its estimated 95 billion tons of reserves allow for open-cast mining, its coals produce low emission of sulphur, and the country is geographically part of Asia, the world’s coal largest market.

However, this coal-mining boom seemed to have inflicted severe damages to our forests due to reckless issuance of mining rights by regional administrations and weak enforcement of the forestry, environmental, spatial and mining laws.

Last Wednesday’s discovery by a central government team of extensive forest damages inflicted by coal mining operations in Kalimantan only confirmed our fear of the excesses of the launching of the regional autonomy in 2001.

The regional autonomy devolved the authority of licensing general mining operations (outside oil and natural gas) to regional administrations which is further reaffirmed by the 2009 mining law. But this has made mining as the second biggest destroyer of forests, in addition to illegal logging and slash-and-burn farming.

The team of Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta and members of the President’s anti-judicial mafia taskforce observed during its aerial survey of East Kalimantan that hundreds of thousands of forested areas have been damaged by greedy legal and illegal miners.

The team saw from the air hundreds of huge black holes abandoned by open-pit coal miners. These holes are supposed to be reclaimed with reforestation by the mining concessionaires.

We find it mind-boggling to understand why the government had not anticipated such environmental damages because mining operations not only are complex but also transcend the jurisdictions of many other ministries — beside the mining and energy ministries — such as the ministries forestry, environment and health.

Mining has been playing an important role in the country’s economy as the country holds major deposits of oil, gas, copper, gold, nickel, coal, silver, diamonds and base metals.

But the central government should have regulated how the various ministries and the different levels of government execute their respective functions and responsibilities as regards mining operations and the supervision of environmental, health and safety aspects as well the rights of the local people around mining areas.

But what the team learnt at a meeting with East Kalimantan Governor Awang Faroek in Samarinda was an acute lack of apprehension of the division of authorities between provincial and regency administrations with regards to the awarding of coal mining rights.

Governor Faroek, instead of accepting responsibility for the weak supervision of coal mining operations in his province, asked for special authority from the central government to enable him to order regents to rein on coal mining rights.

One of the main problem, we think, lies in the long delay in the enforcement of the 2009 mining law that already clearly regulates the division of authority in the licensing of mining ventures between the central government and provincial and regency administrations, the delineation of areas opened to mining contractors or reserved for strategic mining area under direct jurisdiction of the central government.

But we cannot understand why the government has yet to issue all regulations needed to implement the mining law more than one year after its enactment.

Without sweeping realignment in the issuance of mining licenses/rights and strong enforcement of the new mining law, as well as the forestry and environmental laws, Indonesia’s two-year moratorium on clearing natural forests President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declared at a climate-change conference in Oslo late last month could become a joke.

Two mining companies in North Maluku told to stop operating

Antara News, Tuesday, June 29, 2010 04:33 WIB

Ternate (ANTARA News) - The North Maluku legislative assembly (DPRD) has asked two nickel mining companies in East Halmahra regency to immediately stop their mining activities for illegal operations in North Maluku.

The two companies respectively PT Kemakmuran Inti Utama (KIUT) and PT Kemakmuran Pertiwi Tambang (KPTl no longer entitled to carry out mining operations in North Maluku.

"Under a decision of the Supreme Court, the two companies have no longer the right to carry out nickle mining operations in North Maluku, Head of the North Maluku DPRD Commission C Abdul Gani Sangaji said in Sofifi Monday.

If the two companies continued their mining operating, they would be breaking the law, and the police authorities would be to deal with them.

He said North Maluku was in great need of investors to develop the natural resources in the area, especially the natural resources which would give a contribution to the region`s income and improve the life the local people.

But the investors which are developing the natural resources in North Maluku need to have a commitment to follow all the existing legal procedures and regulations.

PT KIUT and PT KPT had been developing the nickle mines in East Kalimantan under the license of the East Kalimantan regency administration although the mining location of the two companies was a land of another mining company which had already a permit from the North Maluku provincial administration.

The two companies later sued PT Wahana and the North Maluku Governor to the Ambon High State Administrative Court, and rejected the suit of the two companies. The decision was later confirmed by the Supreme Court.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Indonesia census turns up Papua tribe living in trees

Reuters, JAKARTA, Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:58pm IST

(Reuters) - A tribe of hunter gatherers living in trees in the remote forests of Indonesia's easternmost region of Papua has been discovered officially for the first time by the country's census, an official said on Thursday.

The nomadic tribe, called Koroway, numbers about 3,000 people speaking their own language and living off forest animals and plants, census officials found during the country's 2010 census survey.

"Their houses are in trees, their life is stone age," said Suntono, head of Indonesia's statistics agency for Papua.

After receiving reports from missionaries, census officials needed to walk for up to two weeks to find the tribe, after travelling by boat from the nearest permanent villages, but still only reached the fringes of their territory.

The nearest city to the swampy southeastern corner of Papua is Merauke, the site of a planned giant food estate attracting interest from investors such as Singapore's Wilmar to grow sugar.

Scientists said last month they had found new species in Papua, including the world's smallest wallaby. The discoveries come as scientists warn of the threat of species loss as the planet warms and forests are destroyed to feed humans.

Suntono said tribe members, who wear nothing but banana leaves, protected their area from outsiders as they depended on it for food such as deer, wild boar, sago and bananas.

A secessionist movement has smouldered for decades in politically sensitive and resource-rich Papua, with attacks in the past year on workers at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's Grasberg mine that has the world's largest gold reserves.

There are more than 2,500 tribes in Papua and all have different languages, Suntono added.

Papua makes up most of the western half of the island of New Guinea. Papua New Guinea, a separate country, occupies the eastern half.

(Reporting by Telly Nathalia; Writing by Neil Chatterjee; Editing by Nick Macfie)


Around 2,868 'isolated and primitive' people from the Korowai tribe were interviewed by census workers. -- PHOTO: AFP


Related Article:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

President to lead forest fire call for readiness

Antara News, Tuesday, June 22, 2010 04:23 WIB

Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono planned to lead a national call for readiness in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, in July.

"This call for readiness is for forest and land preservation to prevent fires," West Kalimantan Governor Cornelis said in Pontianak Monday.

He said the Kalimantan tropical forests had become an international attention and therefore need to be preserved well.

He also said that actually forests rarely caught fire. In 2009, he said, plantations however often caught fire, especially those two years old plantations, reaching 800 hectares, and mostly peat during the dry season.

Spokesman and Protocol of the West Kalimantan provincial administration Numsuan Madsun said the call for readiness will be held on July 18.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gas spews from the earth in quake-hit Mamuju

Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post, Makassar, South Sulawesi | Thu, 06/17/2010 9:05 PM

Residents of Kasano village in the West Sulawesi regency of North Mamuju were shocked on Thursday by flammable gas which spewed from the earth following Wednesday’s quake.

Spokesman for the North Mamuju administration Saydiman Marto said the natural phenomenon occurred in at least seven areas situated near palm oil and cacao plantations across the village, where the 5.3-magnitude quake has claimed one life and damaged more than 90 buildings.

“Local residents unintentionally discovered the spewing gas. Yesterday [Wednesday] a resident ignited fire near a hollow and suddenly flame burst out from the earth. The flame is about three meters tall,” Saydiman said.

Heavy rain that fell in the regency on Thursday helped prevent the fire from spreading, he added.

Governor Anwar Adnan Saleh and Regent Abdullah Rasyid who visited quake victims on Thursday also witnessed the spewing gas. They ordered evacuation of people living nearby for safety reasons and asked the upstream oil and gas regulator (BP Migas) to identify the gas.

Related Article:

Earthquake jolts Gorontalo


Rock slide

M. Azis Tunny, The Jakarta Post, Ambon, Maluku | Thu, 06/17/2010 9:00 PM

Rock slide: A photographer on Thursday looks on huge rocks that hit houses in Batu Gantung, Ambon, Maluku, after a late-night landslide on Wednesday. The disaster claimed six lives and injured four people. JP/M. Azis Tunny

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Landslide in Ambon kills family of seven



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Companies criticized over environmental management

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan | Wed, 06/16/2010 10:24 AM

The North Sumatra Environmental Management Board (BLH) announced that around 1,750 companies in various areas in the province may face sanctions for neglecting environmental management.

Head of Environmental Communication Planning Affairs Indra Utama said the number of companies without required documentation of their environmental management programs was much higher than the number of companies that are following the law.

Indra said 250 companies had currently acquired environmental management documents and only 25 companies were equipped with waste processing facilities.

“This shows that many companies in North Sumatra are not concerned about the environment.”

“Virtually no place in the province is free of pollution,” Indra told The Jakarta Post in Medan on Monday on the sidelines of a seminar on technical guidance on implementing the Environmental Law

Indra said that his office had received a proposal from the State Environment Ministry to evaluate 35 companies in North Sumatra involved in environmental pollution. The companies were located in several areas, such as Medan and Pematang Siantar cities, and Deli Serdang, Labuhan Batu, Asahan, Batubara and Langkat regencies.

Indra said the number of companies identified by the State Environment Ministry was too small when compared to the province’s estimated 1,800 companies.

“The actual number of companies recommended for evaluation is small. North Sumatra is home to 1,750 companies, many of which are ill-equipped to maintain environmental management documentation,” he said.

He said that based on his office’s preliminary evaluation, three companies were blacklisted: Two tapioca mills in Pematang Siantar city and a paper mill in Medan.

“The three companies will face a three-year prison sentence if found guilty,” he added.

North Sumatra BLH staff member Fauzi Ibsa Tarigan, a seminar participant, said violation of environmental laws by companies in North Sumatra had created severe water and air pollution.

“In an effort to curb pollution, the provincial administration is currently monitoring industries which produce air and water pollution,” said Fauzi.

Two seriously injured in Papua, Indonesia hit by 7.1-magnitude quake

English.news.cn 2010-06-16 12:58:25


JAKARTA, June 16 (Xinhua) -- At least two people have been seriously injured after a 7.1-magnitude quake hit Papua of Indonesia on Wednesday, officials said. "Two people have been evacuated to General Hospital in Biak as they got serious injuries in the quake,"head of crisis center of the Health Ministry Mujiharto told Xinhua over phone.

Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency has lifted a tsunami warning imposed after the major quake that hit Papua in the easternmost of Indonenesia on late Wednesday morning.

The mainshock was followed by two afterschocks of 6.6 and 5.3 on the Richter scale respectively, the agency said.

Jerry Purba, an official with the agency, said several buildings have collapsed in Biak of Papua.

"We got reports from the meteorology office in Biak that several buildings have collapsed," Jerry Purba told Xinhua.

The metro television also reported that several buildings cracked.

Several buldings in Biak has been is reported collapsed, the agency said.

The 7.1-magnitude quake struck at 10:16 a.m. Jakarta time (0316 GMT) with the epicenter 123 km southeast Biak of Papua and the depth of 10 km under sea bed.

Related Articles:

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Number killed in Papua quake climbs to 17

Gas spews from the earth in quake-hit Mamuju

12 remote districts isolated by earthquake in Yapen Waropen

Earthquake destroys 9 villages

Govt sends food, medical supplies to quake-hit Mamuju

Strong quakes in Indonesia kill 3, collapse homes

Four earthquakes jolt Biak

Powerful earthquakes shake Indonesian coast, kill 2 people


Monday, June 14, 2010

Greenpeace on EU sustainability guidelines on palm oil production

Antara News, Monday, June 14, 2010 16:09 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The weak sustainability guidelines published by the European Union (EU) recently on biofuels, demonstrate the growing concern among consumer countries about palm oil production and deforestation, Greenpeace Southeast Asia said.

Under the new guidelines, palm oil producers will be required to show that they have not converted forests or drained peatlands after 2008, the environmentalist organization said in a press statement over the weekend.

"These new sustainability criteria are yet another indication that global markets are demanding palm oil producers to change their destructive practices. Palm oil from deforestation or peatland clearance going into biofuels is not an option," said Bustar Maitar, Forest Team Leader of Greenpeace South East Asia.

While the revised criteria are an improvement, including the closure of a major loophole - defining palm oil plantations as forests - they remain problematic because a number of issues are not dealt with.

The guidelines are still too weak to prevent conversion of some non-pristine forests, and are unclear on how proposed safeguards for peatland will work and be monitored, despite their critical importance.

The EU also failed to address the issue of indirect land-use change (ILUC) impacts , the biggest risk of biofuel expansion as highlighted by respected international institutions, Greenpeace said.

Greenpeace EU forest policy director Sebastien Risso said: "Dirty biofuels exacerbate climate change and lead to the destruction of rainforests. Under the current scheme, Europeans wanting to cut their carbon footprint could actually make the problem worse by using biofuels. The worst biofuels are actually more polluting than petrol and there is a very real risk that Europe`s cars will run on forest destruction and animal extinction."

The growing demand for palm oil, including for biofuels, is putting immense pressure on Indonesia`s forests. Annually, Indonesia loses almost 2 million hectares of forests, and is the third largest emitter on the planet.

In particular, the conversion of carbon-rich peat lands causes considerable Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

"Multinationals and the EU are giving Indonesia`s industry and government a clear signal: stop clearing forests and draining peatlands. Now it is time to take the necessary steps to change the bad image of Indonesian palm oil. That means no more palm oil expansion to forests and peatlands," said Bustar Maitar.

"President Yudhoyono must go beyond his moratorium on new concessions and declare a moratorium on current deforestation and protect all peatlands," he added.

3 Earthquakes Rattle Indonesia, but Don’t Injure or Destroy

Jakarta Globe, Nurdin Hasan, June 13, 2010

Three moderate earthquakes rocked each end of the Indonesian archipelago early on Sunday morning, sending thousands fleeing their homes in fear of a tsunami, but causing no reported damage, officials and residents said.

The office of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Banda Aceh said the area experienced a 7.7-magnitude earthquake at 2:26 a.m. local time.

BMKG official Maimuddin said the epicenter of the quake was in the Nicobar Sea, about 420 kilometers northwest of Aceh’s We Island, and at a depth of 21 kilometers.

“There was no tsunami alert raised for Indonesia, but the alert was raised for parts of India,” Maimuddin told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday. “The warning was lifted later in the day, though.”

Banda Aceh resident Khaidir, 35, said he had been asleep at the time of the quake. He said a strong jolt woke him up, and he immediately woke his wife and baby, rushing with them to safety.

“Everyone in my neighborhood was scrambling for higher, open ground,” he said. “The earthquake lasted about two minutes.”

Another Banda Aceh resident, Heri, 24, said he had been watching a televised World Cup football match at the time, along with about 100 other people at a cafe. He said everyone fled the moment the quake struck.

“Most people went home immediately afterward to check up on their family and property,” Heri said. “Others, though, stayed on at the cafe to watch the game between England and the US.”

Meanwhile, two smaller quakes jolted Ternate, in the province of North Maluku, on Sunday.

The first struck at 10:57 a.m., local time, and was recorded by the BMKG as having a magnitude of 5.0. However, the US Geological Survey recorded it as magnitude 4.8. The quake, which struck just north of Ternate, did not trigger a tsunami warning, and there were no reports of casualties or property damage.

A second quake hit later in the day, centered further north in the Maluku Sea, 195 kilometers north-northwest of Ternate. This quake hit at 1:44 in the afternoon with a magnitude of 4.7. There were no immediate reports of casualties or property damage.

The brace of quakes in the area come on the heels of a larger, 5.7-magnitude quake that struck on Wednesday morning. That quake had an epicenter close to Sunday’s second quake, about 135 kilometers north of Ternate.

Recent earthquakes in Aceh have been more powerful. The region has experienced a string of quakes of above magnitude 7.0 since April. A 7.2-magnitude quake that month near Simeulue Island led to dozens of injuries and caused severe damage to several homes and buildings.

Additional reporting by Antara

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stop blaming orangutan plight on palm oil firms

The Jakarta Post, Benget Besalicto Tnb., Contributor, Palangkaraya | Tue, 06/08/2010 8:05 AM

All environmental NGOs in Borneo have long been concerned about deforestation shrinking the orangutan population of the island, the only family of great apes in Asia.

Endangered: A pair of orangutans play on a tree on Kaja Island in Central Kalimantan. Pressure is mounting to save this endangered species as their habitat continues to shrink. JP/J. Adiguna

They have attributed the deforestation to a number of factors, which include forest fires, non-sustainable logging, mining activities, the spreading of palm oil plantations, and other timber estates. But some consistently pinpoint the expansion of palm oil plantations as the main cause of deforestation.

“It’s clear they [palm oil firms] are to blame the most when it comes to deforestation. By doing so, they have also endangered orangutans, which rely on natural forests to survive,” said Togu Manurung, the chairman of Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS), a foreign NGO that runs the world’s largest orangutan rehabilitation center in Nyaru Menteng, about 30 kilometers south of Palangkaraya, the capital city of Central Kalimantan.

Addressing a seminar on palm oil and orangutans, organized by BOS, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), Orangutan Conservation Services Program (OCOP), the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA), and the palm oil firm Agro Group, recently in Palangkaraya, he said palm oil firms had expanded their plantations into natural forests, threatening the very existence of orangutans.

He claimed that many of the firms had killed orangutans when opening up natural forests. “But let me make it clear. If you’re found killing orangutans, we’ll make sure the punishment is advertised on a global scale, so the international community will know it. Then that will be the end of your business as your consumers will no longer buy your products,” he warned palm oil firms.

But Sehat Jaya, an orangutan observer and lecturer in forestry at the University of Palangkaraya, said it was unfair to keep inferring that all palm oil companies were to blame for deforestation and the endangering of orangutans.

“It’s not fair to put all the blame on them. Not all of them have recklessly expanded their plantations by converting natural forests. You have to look at the evidence on a case by case basis, as some or even now many, perhaps, have complied with the principle of sustainability,” he said.

He added that many people had based their conclusions on deforestation and orangutans on incomplete data. “I think we also lack data on this. The situation has changed but perhaps many people still rely on old information. That’s why they reached an incorrect conclusion. I think we should have valid and complete data to come to a conclusion. Otherwise, we’ll end up misleading the general public and slandering firms,” he said.

According to him, the problem of endangered orangutan should not solely be attributed to bad practices carried out by palm oil plantations. “Instead of just blaming them, we should promote the adoption of principles of sustainability and educate the general public on their very importance. Just blaming the culprits won’t solve any problems,” he said.

Birute Mary Galdikas, the chairwoman of OFI concurred with Sehat, saying all stakeholders needed to consolidate their information on forests and orangutans.

“Yes, you’re right that stakeholders define the forests’ conditions differently. Some of them may say certain forests are natural forests or degraded forests, while others don’t,” he told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the seminar.

Birute, a Canadian who has been working for more than 40 years with OFI, a foreign NGO that manages the Tanjung Puting protected forests for orangutans in Tanjung Puting, Central Kalimantan, acknowledged that differences in how forests were defined might have led to wrong actions when dealing with deforestation and orangutan issues.

“But generally, thanks to NGOs, more and more people are applying sustainability principles to their everyday life. It’s a slow process but it’s heading in the right direction,” she noted.

One of the positive signs, she added, was some of the palm oil companies had joined the Roundtable on Sustainability of Palm Oil (RSPO) association. The RSPO, designed by palm oil-related industries and a number of international NGOs, defines sustainable palm oil production as an integration of legal compliance, economic viability, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible management and operations.

“Some of them have realized they have to be responsible and finance conservation efforts as part of their commitment to implement the principle of sustainability. That’s why I think companies like yours are involved in financing seminars and workshops on orangutans,” she told Yogi Wicaksono, assistant

manager on the environment with palm oil firm Agro Group, who joined the conversation with a number of participants on the sidelines of the seminar.

Yogi remarked his company Agro Group had always planted palm oil on degraded lands, which were neglected after being exploited under forestry concessions.

“We’ve never expanded into natural forests. We’ve only ever set up our plantations on degraded lands,” he said, adding that in the near future, his company was planning to adopt a number of orangutans, a step none of the palm oil firms have taken so far.

Considering the latest development, Mega Hariyanto, the chairman of Central Kalimantan’s BKSDA, said the situation had improved. ”Orangutans might be still experiencing a bleak situation, but their future is looking more positive,” he said.

He claimed that as more and more companies adopted the principle of sustainability, deforestation had slowed down. However no data was available to quantify his claim.

“I have noticed companies are increasingly aware of the need to incorporate principles of sustainability in their business model. I can see it as I’ve been here long enough. They might have acted wrongly in the past, but there is no denying their business practices are getting better. I’m sure of that,” concluded Mega, who had been working with Central Kalimantan BKSDA for more than five years.

Classic Dox - A boat trip through Borneo

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Anne Blair Gould

(Photo: rnw.nl)

Borneo is one of the top five places on earth where wildlife is most endangered. One area seriously threatened is the Sebangau peat swamp forest in Kalimantan where the world's largest population of orangutans is dwindling fast.

Ten years ago there were 15,000 orangutans; now there are only 7,000. Illegal logging robs them of their home; illegal pet trading robs the young orangs of their mothers. And the worst thing is, these are not even the greatest threats right now. What's really going to put paid to the peat forest of Sebangau is a vast network of canals that's draining the whole swampy area.

Peatland drying out

"These canals were dug by illegal loggers to float the logs out to the larger rivers bordering this area," explains Helen Morrogh-Bernard who is studying orangutan ecology and behaviour in Sebangau. The net result of all these canals is that the peat swamp forest has been drying out.

"As the canals drain the area, the peat dries out, the trees fall over and forest fires start more easily," adds Simon Husson, who like Helen Morrogh-Bernard works for CIMTROP (Centre for International Co-operation in Management of Tropical Peatland) and studies Sebangau's orangutans. "It's the biggest single problem we have here," Simon continues.

"Because the canals are draining this peatland, we get very extended dry seasons where the water-table can be one-and-a-half metres below the surface, whereas it use to be only 30 centimetres."

Thanks to much work on the part of the Worldwide Fund for Nature, Sebangau was declared a National Park in October 2004, and environmentalists are hopeful that this will at least reduce if not stop illegal logging.

Orphan orangutans

In other part of this same forest, we find the Nyara Menteng rehabilitation centre for orphaned orangutans. This is the second centre built by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, founded by Dutchman Willie Smits. The first, 'Wanariset Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre,' built in 1991, is in East Kalimantan.

Communications officer, Jo-Lan van Leeuwen, explains what the BOS Foundation is trying to do:

"All the little orangutans here have been orphaned when hunters shot there mother in order to capture the baby for the illegal pet trade. Baby orangs usually stay with their mother for the first seven or eight years and they learn how to find fruits and how to make nests from their mothers. So here we provide them with human 'surrogate mothers' who take the little orang-utans into the forest every day and try and them teach them the skills they need."

Orangutan exams

They will eventually need these skills as the BOS Foundation plans to reintroduce as many of the 300 or so young apes back into the wild as possible. But first each orangutan has to pass its exams.

"Not far from the centre we have three islands where we bring our orang-utans when we think that they might have the right character and the necessary skills to make it on their own,” says van Leeuwen.

“Here on these islands we observe them closely to see if they make the grade - and if they pass the test, then we will release them into a protected area where there really will be on their own - although we will still be observing them."

Planting season: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono plants a mangrove tree in the Angke ecotourism park in North Jakarta on Monday as part of efforts to rehabilitate the mangrove forest. Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf

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President: Indonesia to preserve environment more seriously

Antara News, Tuesday, June 8, 2010 19:30 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Indonesia today and tomorrow would preserve the environment more seriously.

The president made the statement on the occasion of World Environment Day 2010 at the State Palace here on Tuesday.

"Let us from now on be more serious in preserving our environment," said the president, calling on government leaders and the people at large to do so.

To make environmental preservation efforts a success, the head of state called on regional leaders to involve colleges and non-governmental organizations in the endeavors.

He also urged the local governments to be more careful in issuing permits to use forests and land .

"Local governments should be careful in granting permits and do so according to the forests` and land`s function," the president said after presenting Kalpataru and Adipura environmental awards to a number of deserving individuals and institutions.

The awards were given in thee categories, namely "Kalpataru" for individuals and groups; "Adipura" for 140 districts and cities; and "Adiwiyata Mandiri" 2010 for 25 schools.

Flanked by Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta, the president personally presented the awards in conjunction with this year`s World Environment Day themed "Many Species One Planet, One Future."

Meanwhile, the environment minister said the theme was crucial, because in Indonesia biodiversity was still being overexploited threatening the proper functions and order of the ecosystem.

Biodiversity is an element that forms the environment and functions as the main support for the human survival and welfare, according to him.

The "Kalpataru" awards for the environmental pioneer category was among other things given to Djohan Riduan Hasan from Girimaya, Bukit Intan sub district, Pangkal Pinang, Bangka Belitung Province (Sumatra Island), for his contribution to rehabilitate former-tin mining-site critical land.

Another recipient of "Kalpataru" was Mateus Bere Bau from Kewar village, Lamaknen sub district, Belu District, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province, for his service in planting and caring for trees in arid and rocky areas for the last 35 years.

Mahyidin from Aneuk Laot, Sukakarya sud district, Sabang, Aceh Province, also received a "Kalpataru" Award, for helping rehabilitate mangrove forests.

The two other awardees were Kholifah from Kedung Ringin village, Beji sub district, Pasuruan District, East Java Province, for pioneering in organic agriculture since 1999 by developing bio-pesticides and fertilizers; and Ujang Solikhin, an army soldier, from Kertasari village, Ciamis sub district, West Java, for turning wastes into alternative energy in the form of organic charcoal briquettes to replace kerosene.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thousands of logs confiscabel in Papua

The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Tue, 06/08/2010 10:48 AM

JAYAPURA: A police team in Papua and West Papua provinces claims it confiscated thousands of logs from two freight boats heading for Surabaya, East Java.

The boats reportedly belong to PT N and PT WG.

Jayapura police chief Comr. Paulus Waterpauw said the crews of the boats had not been carrying any legal documents.

“They failed to show legal documents for the haul,” he said in a release sent to The Jakarta Post.

Three suspects were being held for questioning at the Bintuni Police Station.

The police impounded the two boats — Ringgo and Samudera Indonesia — and three log-transporting vehicles and seven large trucks with cutting tools.

The two companies have been operating in Bintuni, West Papua, since 1992. — JP

Rare Javan rhino found dead in Indonesia

The carcass of a critically endangered Javan rhino has been found in Indonesia

JAKARTA — The carcass of a critically endangered Javan rhino has been found in Indonesia, conservationists said Monday, bringing the world?s scarcest mammal one step closer to extinction.

The remains of the male rhino were found two weeks ago in Ujung Kulon National Park in West Java, home to the species' last viable population of less than 50, experts said.

Rhino Foundation of Indonesia head Widodo Ramono said the animal could have died during the rainy season around February to March. Its horn was intact, meaning it probably was not killed by poachers, he said.

"There were no signs that it had been killed or poisoned. We suspect it could have died from an illness or, since it was partly submerged in water when it died, it could have drowned," he added.

The Javan rhino is distinguished from African rhinos by its small size, single horn and loose skin folds. Rhino horns are used in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine although most Asian countries have banned the trade.

Around 44 Javan rhinos are believed to live in Ujung Kulon, an oasis of wilderness on the western edge of one of the world's most densely populated islands.

Another four or so are found in Vietnam's Cat Loc reserve, where a rhino was killed by poachers last month.

No one knows the exact numbers but the results of a survey of the rhino population in Ujung Kulon are expected by the end of the week, Ramono said.

"The survey's almost completed. We've placed 60 camera-traps around the park and we're now collating the data to verify the numbers," he said.

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President plants mangrove trees in Angke

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 06/07/2010 11:43 AM

Planting season: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono plants a mangrove tree in the Angke ecotourism park in North Jakarta on Monday as part of efforts to rehabilitate the mangrove forest. Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and a number of Cabinet members planted mangrove trees in the Angke ecotourism park in North Jakarta on Monday as part of efforts to rehabilitate the mangrove forest.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said his office had struck an agreement with the Jakarta administration to plant 9 million mangrove trees in the coming five years.

“We have organized tree-planting activities here in Angke Bay, in Ancol and in other places several times ,” Zulkifli said as quoted by Antara.

He added that garbage was the most responsible for the destruction of the mangrove forest along Jakarta coast.

“Our main enemy is garbage. Jakarta Bay is like a supermarket, where beds, pillows and garbage can be found,” he said.

Other officials joining the tree planting were Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta, State Secretary Sudi Silalahi, Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam and Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo.

Related Article:

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Elephants run amok in Bengkalis

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 06/07/2010 9:54 AM |

JAKARTA: Rampaging wild elephants forced dozens of families to flee their homes in Madau subdistrict, Bengkalis regency, Riau.

Rianto, one of the affected farmers, said that most of the families lived along the traditional paths of the elephants.

“They left their homes three days ago after a herd of elephants trampled a farmer to death,” Rianto told Antara.

Rianto identified the victim as a 32-year-old man named Suwanto, whose body was found dismembered Thursday.

The farmers, armed with bamboo drums and torches, tried in vain to scare off a band of 18 elephants that had devoured their oil palm crops.

The natural habitant of elephants in Indonesia is under threat. Elephants are considered endangered animals that are protected by law.

The farmers are now staying with relatives who live outside of the beasts’ paths, Rianto said. — JP

Sunday, June 6, 2010

North Maluku "Angel Bird" on brink of extinction

Antara News, Sunday, June 6, 2010 17:01 WIB

Ternate, N Maluku (ANTARA News) - Due to the worsening forest condition in North Maluku, Angle bird (Semioptera Wallacii) in the province is on the brink of extinction.

"The bird`s habitats deteriorate due to forest encroachment and illegal logging activities," Djafar, an activist, said here, Sunday.

Besides, some parts of the province`s forest area have been converted into plantation areas, transmigration sites, forest concession (HPH) areas and mining sites, he said.

Djafar said that mining and forest concession played a major role in the bird`s extinction, as the birds lost their habitat, which is the local forest where they usually take shelter and find food in big trees.

"Ironically, licenses for both forest harmful activities are easily issued by the local officials who are supposedly responsible for the preservation effort," he said.

Most of the Angel bird`s habitats in Halmahera, North Halmahera, and central Halmahera districts have been converted into mining areas.

Djafar urged all parties to be aware and serious in preserving the birds, as North Maluku is their native origin.

North Maluku authorities must turn the forest into conservation area in order to preserve the Angel bird.

To raise local people`s awareness on the importance of the Angel bird preservation, local schools must help educate the children about the endangered birds.

A special study on the Angel Bird population has not been done yet, but it is certain that it has declined since the 1980s due to the continued deforestation.

Concession holders threat to Mamuju district`s forests : official

Antara News, Sunday, June 6, 2010 03:46 WIB

Mamuju, W Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - Companies holding concession rights to exploit forests are the enemy of protected forests in West Sulawesi`s Mamuju district, a local government official said.

Mamuju District Chief Suhardi Duka said here Saturday he was "traumatized" by the destructive acts of those companies against protected forests in the region.

"The 300,000 hectares of protected forests that Mamuju district still has must be preserved. Don`t destroy these forests," he said.

A number of companies holding concession rights had destroyed protected forests in Mamuju district. As a result, people often suffered by flooding, he said.

"Their destructive acts have caused the frequent flooding. We are all traumatized," he said.

To preserve the district`s protected forests, Duka said he would firmly reject any company`s request for a license to operate in the forestry field in the region,

"If the companies want to benefit, they can do so by managing limited production forest areas, not protected forest areas," he said.

In Mamuju district, the companies holding concession rights were PT Rante Mario, PT Inhutani, PT Hayam Wuruk, PT Malakawa, PT Palapi Timber, PT Sampaga Utama Sakti, PT Maskumbangan, and PT Intan Pertama, he said.

Meanwhile, in commemorating World Environment Day on Saturday, tens of university students in Tembilahan, Indragiri Hilir district, Riau Province, gave tree seedlings to local people.

The activists of Indragiri Islamic State University`s Nature Loving Student Brigade also staged a theatrical performance and raised a banner reminding the people of the need to preserve nature.

The students asked the government to take care of people living near forests by improving their welfare for the sake of forest preservation.

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