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)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Expo shows illegal pet trade rampant in Indonesia

The Jakarta Post, Associated Press, Jakarta | Fri, 07/30/2010 2:40 PM |

The most threatened tortoise in the world is being sold openly at a plant and animal exposition in the heart of Indonesia's capital, highlighting concerns about the rampant - and growing - illegal pet trade.

The country has become a major trading hub for endangered tortoise and freshwater turtles, including species from Africa, South America and Asia, said Chris Shepherd of TRAFFIC, a British-based international wildlife monitoring network

He said the government has failed to follow up on repeated promises to crackdown.

Those found Friday at Jakarta's annual flora and fauna expo - held from July 2 until Aug. 2 - included the world's most threatened ploughshare tortoise and the critically endangered radiated tortoises, both from Madagascar and fetching around US$150.

Cages also were filled with rare Indian star tortoises, which are protected under the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species, known as CITES, and the endangered pig-nose tortoise, from Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, both selling for $1,500.

Vendors told The Associated Press other threatened tortoises and turtles not found on display could easily be obtained for a price.

"Recent surveys, and this expo, have shown that the trade continues and, in fact, now involves more illegally imported species than ever," said Shepherd. "Dealers know full well that it is illegal and are taking advantage of the enforcement agencies lack of action."

Indonesia, one of the most biologically diverse nations in the world, has for years sold everything from eagles and leopard cats to gibbons as pets in the capital, though often less openly. Shady transactions continue to take place in the back alleys of the popular Pramuka Market in Central Jakarta.


Endangered species were both identified by experts and photographed being sold at a Central Jakarta fair, but the government insist that no endangered species were for sale. (AP Photo/DIta Alangkara)


Related Article:

South Aceh villager trampled by elephants

Antara News, Friday, July 30, 2010 13:00 WIB

Tapaktuan, Aceh Province (ANTARA News) - Salehuddin (30), a resident of Gampong Koto, Central Kluet sub district, South Aceh District, Aceh, was trampled to death by a herd of elephants, Friday.

The victim was a farmer who was guarding his garden at Alue Keujereun village, around 50 km east of Tapaktuan, South Aceh, when he was attacked by sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus), Muhammad Hasbi, Central Kluet Sub district head, said.

Last July 15, in Bengkalis district, a senior citizen aged 63 years old, Marsini, was found dead Riau province, after being attacked by wild elephants.

"According to information we`ve received, Marsini was attacked by more than one elephant," chief of Riau province`s Conservation and Natural Resources Board, Trisnu Danisworo, said recently.

The tragic accident happened when Marsini who was walking around a palm oil plantation near her house met a group of wild elephants which were crossing the area.

"That location is actually part of wild elephant`s habitat. There are 40 elephants there. But now their habitat is damaged due to the shifting function of the area into palm oil plantation," he said.

Wild elephants attacking local people often happens in Bengkalis district during this year.

Last June, a herd of wild elephants attacked Petani village, Mandau sub-district, Riau district of Bengkalis, damaging four houses over the weekend.


Related Article:

Greenpeace Says Photos Show Palm Oil Destruction in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, Arti Ekawati & Reuters | July 30, 2010

A photo taken as part of a media trip organized by Greenpeace shows a forest area under development for palm oil plantations in West Kalimantan. The conservationist group is campaigning against palm oil expansion in forests, some of which are home to endangered orangutans. (Reuters Photo)

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Indonesia. Greenpeace on Thursday went into attack mode again, saying it had photographic proof that palm oil firms linked to Indonesian agrobusiness giant Sinar Mas are bulldozing rainforests and destroying the habitat of endangered orangutans in Kalimantan.

Sinar Mas, which lost top customers like Unilever and Nestle after an earlier Greenpeace allegation that it was destroying virgin forests, countered that it was working on government-awarded concessions that were already degraded before it began .

After Greenpeace’s earlier report, Sinar Mas group’s palm oil unit, PT SMART, which manages producers PT Agro Lestari Mandiri and PT Bangun Nusa Mandiri, ordered an independent audit of their operations in Central and West Kalimantan, but announcement of the results has been postponed twice and is now scheduled for Aug. 10.

Greenpeace said aerial photographs taken in July by its own photographers, as well as Reuters, showed that Agro Lestari was still clearing carbon-rich peat land forests in the Ketapang district of West Kalimantan.

The group also published photographs allegedly showing Bangun Nusa clearing an area in Ketapang that had been identified by the United Nations Environment Program as a habitat for highly endangered orangutans.

“What we found was that, despite their commitment, high levels of carbon destruction are still going on,” Greenpeace forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said.

“This is still happening, even while their auditor is writing the report,” he added.

Fajar Reksoprodjo, a spokesman for SMART, told Reuters that because the concessions it operated were granted by the government, “presumably the issuance for that is because it’s not deemed by the government as high conservation value.”

He also said that in the past, Greenpeace had misinterpreted areas in aerial photographs.

“What was thought by layman’s or non-expert eyes as peat turned out to be mineral soil. They have the same coloration,” he said.

SMART acknowledged in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe that the pictures were taken in the company’s concession area in Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan, but stressed that they should not be interpreted as a deforestation of a primary forest.

“We are not responsible for the opening of primary forests, which are high conservation value areas and the main habitat for orangutans,” said Daud Dharsono, president director of Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology, a plantation unit.

“Instead, our concession area consists of nonprimary forest.”

The company also stated it was conserving some areas of degraded forest that still had high conservation value.

“The green areas shown in the photograph are proof that the company conserves these areas. [The areas are] not the remains of primary forest damaged by SMART’s activity,” Daud said.


Related Article:

Cargill Supports Unilever's Drive to Use Sustainable Palm Oil

Source: Cargill, Inc., 29/07/2010

29 July 2010 — Cargill has entered into a supply agreement to provide Unilever's European operations with 10,000 metric tonnes of segregated refined palm oil, certified by the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

This means that the oil will have been certified as sustainable, having been segregated at every step in the supply chain. Cargill’s new offering will strengthen its ability to provide sustainable palm oil products to meet customers’ requirements and will complement its existing certified RSPO Mass Balance palm oil offering.

“Our agreement with Unilever is the result of both companies’ strong commitment to supporting responsible supply chains”, said Paul Naar, head of Cargill’s food businesses in Europe. “As the demand for certified sustainable palm oil continues to grow, we are combining our supply chain expertise and industry knowledge to provide customers with choices to meet their particular requirements. We are very pleased to partner with Unilever and see this as a big step forward in the drive towards palm oil sustainability.”

"Unilever is ahead of plan to achieving 100 percent sustainable palm oil by 2015 with over 35 percent already being RSPO certified this year", said Marc Engel, Chief Procurement Officer at Unilever. "Today's announcement marks another important milestone in our journey to 100 percent sustainable palm oil, as Cargill's physically segregated certified oil will be delivered in our factories and used in our products. We are very pleased that Cargill, as one of our strategic partners, is sharing our vision on sustainable palm oil and enabling this for us."

Cargill’s offering of fully segregated refined palm oil follows the RSPO certification of the company’s European and Malaysian oil refineries. PT. Hindoli in Sumatra, Indonesia received its RSPO certification in February 2009 and Cargill is currently working to certify its other palm plantation in Indonesia, Harapan Sawit Lestari. Cargill fully supports the RSPO process to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil throughout the supply chain. The company has set a goal of buying 60 percent of its total crude palm oil from RSPO members by the end of 2010. It is encouraging its third-party suppliers to join RSPO and attain certification and its eventual goal is to have a 100 percent RSPO certified supply chain.


Related Article:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Floods hit 33 villages in C Kalimantan

Antara News, Thursday, July 29, 2010 16:56 WIB

Sampit, Central Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - Floods have hit 33 villages in four sub districts in Kotawaringin Timur District, Central Kalimantan.

Some 3,199 families have been affected by the floods, said Kotawaringin Timur District Head Wahyudi Kaspul Anwar here Thursday.

"The victims live in four sub districts, namely Antang Kalang, Parenggean, Cempaga Hulu, and Cempaga," Anwar said.

In Antang Kalang sub district alone, some 14 villages with 1,252 families have been affected by the floods.

Based on data from the Kotawaringin Timur district social affairs office, the floods inundated 9 villages and one urban village in Parengean with 527 families; six villages with 750 families in Cempaga Hulu; and three villages with 670 families in Cempaga.

The local authorities have set up emergency tents and distributed relief aid including food, mattresses, blankets, clothes, to flood victims.

The food included rice, canned fish, cooking oil, sweet soybean sauce, instant noddles, and mineral water.

Deputy Kotawaringin Timur District Head Amrullah Hadi said the district was prone to floods because of deforestation.

Floods were reported to have also happened in several provinces including in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), East Java, Banten, Southeast Sulawesi, and South Kalimantan.


Related Article:

Indonesian Sinar Mas-Linked Firms Cutting Virgin Rain Forest: Greenpeace

Jakarta Globe, Sunanda Creagh, July 29, 2010

Activists from Greenpeace take part in a rally against Sinar Mas outside the Ministry of the Environment offices in Jakarta in April. The environmental action group says the Indonesian palm oil giant is continuing to cut down virgin forest and threaten the future of the endangered Orangutan. (AFP Photo/Bay Ismoyo)

Jakarta. Greenpeace on Thursday issued fresh accusations that palm oil firms linked to Indonesian agribusiness giant Sinar Mas have bulldozed rainforest and destroyed endangered orangutan habitats in Kalimantan.

Sinar Mas group’s palm oil unit, PT SMART, lost top customers Unilever and Nestle after earlier Greenpeace allegations of virgin forest destruction.

SMART has promised to stop clearing high conservation value forests, a technical forestry term meaning forests that shelter endangered species or provide valuable natural services such as trapping climate-warming greenhouse gases. SMART said it will publish an audit of its operations on August 10.

SMART manages Indonesian palm oil firms PT Agro Lestari Mandiri and PT Bangun Nusa Mandiri. The parent company for SMART, ALM and BNM is Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources, which is part-owned and led by the Widjaja family that controls Sinar Mas.

Greenpeace said in a report released on Thursday that aerial photographs taken in July by their own photographers, as well as by a Reuters photographer, showed that ALM was still clearing carbon-rich peatland forests in Ketapang district, in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province.

“What we found was that, despite their commitment, high carbon destruction is still going on,” said Greenpeace forest campaigner Bustar Maitar.

“This is still happening, even while their auditor is writing the report.”

Enormous amounts of greenhouse gases are emitted when peatland forests are cleared and drained. Their preservation is seen as crucial to preventing runaway climate change.

Greenpeace also published photographs which it said showed BNM clearing in an area in Ketapang that was identified by the United Nations Environment Program as habitat for highly endangered orangutans.

Fajar Reksoprodjo, a spokesman for SMART, told Reuters that all concessions it operated were granted by the government.

“We are working based upon what the government has allocated for us. Presumably the issuance for that is because it’s not deemed by the government as high conservation value,” he said.

He said that in the past, aerial photographs that appeared to show clearing in peatlands had been misinterpreted.

“What was thought by layman’s or non-expert eyes was peat, turned out to be mineral soil. It has the same colouration.”

SMART originally said it would release its audit in July but delayed it to the second week of August because it was not yet finished.

The auditors are paid by SMART and were selected in collaboration with Unilever, which chairs the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an industry body made up of producers, consumers and non-government organizations.

Agribusiness giant Cargill Inc has threatened to delist Sinar Mas as a supplier if the RSPO validates allegations of improper land conversion in earlier Greenpeace reports.

Reuters

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Rattan businesses complain of gloomy prospect

Antara News, By Andi Abdussalam, Monday, July 26, 2010 18:25 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Domestic rattan farmers and businesses which once have a glorious era in the past, are now complaining of gloomy prospect as demand for rattan-based products had been declining, causing more than 50 percent of rattan industries at home to close down over the past two years.

This condition has raised concern that the sustainability of the country`s rattan business could not be maintained if the government fails to adopt a proper policy regarding the country`s rattan potentials.

"The lack of a well-planned policy on rattan exports and the decline in demands for rattan products in the domestic and world markets are threatening the sustainability of rattan business in the country," Chairman of the Indonesian Rattan Business Foundation (YRI) Lisman Sumardjani said on Sunday.

Since 2007, the performance of the local rattan industries had begun to slow down and their number had been declining. In addition, the trade minister`s decree No. 36/ 2009 on rattan export restriction which came into effect as of August 11, 2009 was seen by Lisman as something which could not bridge the interest between the farmers and rattan furniture industries.

"The export restriction is actually also restricting the farmers` rattan business, because they could not sell their products to furniture industries which were not required to purchase the farmers` rattan," Lisman said last year.

In the meantime, demand for rattan-based products has been declining. Lisman said on Sunday the decline in demands for rattan made products was among others caused by the fact that most consumers began to turn to imitation rattan goods.

Actually, he said, world demand for rattan-based furniture and rattan-made handicraft products are relatively high, where in 2008 and 2009 reached around US$100 and US$104 billion.

Of the total market share, Indonesian rattan-based products could only reach 2.6 billion dollars in 2008 and 2.3 billion dollars in 2009. "This indicates that the market for rattan-based products was virtually wide open. We need to take advantage of the available market," he said.

He said that the absorption capacity of the domestic market for locally made rattan products was only about 30,000 - 40,000 tons this year, or about 50 percent of the country`s production capacity of 696,000 tons.

Lisaman said that the government so far had no well-directed policy about the rattan business. It only often changed its export regulations. And what happened was a disruption of the growth of rattan-processing industries.

If in 2007 the number of rattan-processing industries reached 614 units, in 2008 it dropped to 234, because the declining rattan consumption at home and the banning of raw rattan exports had affected 2.3 million rattan collector farmers.

"Rattan which was formerly a reliable source of living of the locals could no longer be expected to become a source to live on," he said.

He said that in a condition where certain types and volumes of rattan exports had been restricted, the value of rattan exports could only reach 240 million US dollars while in a condition where rattan exports were not restricted the value could reach 1.53 billion dollars. This is based on the figure of exports in the 1990-2004.

With the gloomy prospect, Lisman expressed concern that rattan at home is now facing rapid extinction. He said that the sustainability of rattan could be maintained if world consumers continued to need rattan and its by-products, including rattan-based furniture, and this would benefit local rattan farmers.

"Farmers will gather rattan only if rattan industries at home grow and develop well. Without all these, the story about Indonesia`s rattan potential which controls 85 percent of the world market would remain only as a story," he said.

According to Lisman, if managed well, Indonesia`s rattan potentials could earn an annual income of 4 billion dollars a year and could provide jobs for about 5 million people.

Therefore, Lisman asked the government to provide political support in order to revive the demand for processed rattan products. "Besides, all the nation`s components should take part in promoting the use of rattan products, such as successful promotion of the use of `batik`," he said.

Deputy Chief Economic Minister for Industry and Trade Coordination Edy Putra Irawady supported the appeal of the YRI chairman, saying that government agencies should help promote and use rattan furniture.

Edy concurred with Lisman that the sustainability of rattan in the country would face rapid extinction if all parties failed to promote rattan products. Moreover at least 2.3 million poor rattan farmers and rattan collectors earned a living from this sector.

According to Lisman, rattan farmers are the most disadvantaged party with the present condition of rattan business in the country.

He said the government`s latest decision on rattan export restriction failed to encourage rattan farmers to help maintain sustainable rattan cultivation.

"It is true if the government has to guarantee rattan stocks for the rattan industry at home but it must also guarantee that rattan farmers would be able to market their rattan products and reap reasonable profit," Lisman said recently.

He said that the government has issued a policy which restricted rattan exports to meet local industries` needs for raw rattan but the furniture industries were not required to purchase the farmers` rattan.

The trade minister`s decree No. 36/ 2009 on rattan export restriction which came into effect as of August 11, 2009 did not bridge the interest between farmers and rattan furniture industries, he said.

He said that the export restriction is actually also restricting the farmers` rattan because they could not sell their products to the furniture industries which were not required to purchase the farmers` rattan. This would discourage the farmers to preserve the continuity of rattan plantations, threatening the sustainability of the country`s rattan industry.

"Farmers are in the front line in the cultivation of rattan that would eventually guarantee the sustainability of rattan in the country. If farmers and locals near forests do not gain benefit from it, they would not help preserve rattan cultivation," he said.

Kompas Journalist Found Dead in Kalimantan

Jakarta Globe, July 26, 2010

Journalist Muhammad Syaifulah was found dead in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan on Monday. Syaifullah, the head of Kompas' Kalimantan bureau was known for his articles about environmental issues in Kalimantan. (Photo Kompas)


Balikpapan, Indonesia. Muhammad Syaifullah, head of the widely circulated Kompas newspaper's Kalimantan bureau, was found dead at his house in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on Monday. His body was taken to the Bhayangkara Hospital in Balikpapan for an autopsy.

A source told the Jakarta Globe that Syaifullah's wife asked two journalist friends to check on him. He lived alone in the newspaper's staff house at the Balikpapan Baru complex on Jalan Mediterania.

When the friends arrived at 9 a.m., they saw that Syaifulla's car and motorbike were parked at the carport. They let themselves in and found Syaifullah's body in front of the TV. His body was covered in bruises and he was frothing at the mouth.

Kompas' managing editor, Budiman Tanuredja, told online news portal detik.com that the autopsy was conducted based on the family's request.

“We are waiting for the autopsy results and we will take action after we know the cause of death,” Budiman said.

Born in South Kalimantan in 1967, Syaifullah joined Kompas in 1996. He is survived by his wife Isnainijah Sri Rohmani and their two daughters, Nadhila Amajida, 12, and Najmi Izzah Sabrina, 6.

Syaifullah was known for his passion for the environment. Many of his articles were about the environmental destruction in Kalimantan caused by the mining industry.


The Alliance of Independent Journalists to investigate the death of Kompas journalist Muhammad Syaifullah depending on the autopsy results. (Photo Kompas)


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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Landslides, floods kill 21 in Maluku, S. Kalimantan

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Jakarta | Sun, 07/25/2010 3:06 PM

Rain-triggered landslides and floods swept through villages in Maluku and South Kalimantan, killing at least 21 people, officials said Sunday.

The worst happened in Buru Island in eastern province of Maluku, where a landslide hit scores of houses, killing 18 villagers, said Priyadi Kardono, the spokesman for Indonesia's Disaster Management Agency.

Seven other villagers were injured in the Friday landslide in the southern part of Buru, an island that once served as a prison camp for communists in the 1970s.

The bodies of the dead have already been evacuated, Kardono said.

Meanwhile, in South Kalimantan, an Indonesian province on Borneo island, a flood killed three people and left one missing, said Surat Wiyono of the local Search and Rescue Agency.

More than 3,000 families were affected by the flood that began Saturday.

Dozens of people are killed every year in Indonesia, a vast tropical archipelagic nation with more than 17,000 islands that are prone to landslides and floods during the annual monsoon rains.

Kalimantan predicted to have 50 thousand Orangutans: WWF

Antara News, Sunday, July 25, 2010 13:42 WIB

Palangkaraya (ANTARA News) - The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia for Central Kalimantan has predicted that there were about 50 thousand orangutans in Kalimantan.

WWF Coordinator for Central Kalimantan Adventus Panda said on Sunday that the population of orangutans in Kalimantan scattered in Kalimantan provinces but about 7,000-9,000 of them were found in the Sebangau National Park in Central Kalimantan.

He said that the number of orangutan in the Sebangau park was estimated based on a survey conducted sometime ago. The survey took notes on the number of homes of orangutans on the trees in the park.

Panda said that the population of orangutans in Sebangau park also under a threat due to illegal logging that caused disturbance to their habitat.

Besides that, forest fires that had continued to take place in the last several years also posed a serious threat to the existence of orangutans in Central Kalimantan.

He said that among the regions where of orangutan`s population was found in Kalimantan included the northern part up to the Malaysian state of Sabah borders and the Central Kalimantan region to the western borders with the Malaysian state of Serawak.

Earlier, Head of the Nature Conservation and Preservation Agency (BKSDA) for Central Kalimantan, Mega Haryanto said that the BKSDA had released 1,000 orangutans from the rehabilitation center to their free wild habitat.

Most of the orangutans which were released had undergone rehabilitation in the Reintroduction Nyaru Menteng project and the Tanjung Puting National Park (TNTP).

The orangutans were taken from the catches of local community and companies. They were released after undergoing rehabilitation in the two locations in Central Kalimantan.

Soros visits Kalimantan forest

Antara News, Sunday, July 25, 2010 02:37 WIB

Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - Noted US fund manager George Soros conducted a natural tourism visit to a number of tropical forest locations in Central Kalimantan.

Soros was welcomed by Central Kalimantan Governor Agustin Teras Narang at Cilik Riwut airport on Saturday noon.

"I am visiting Central Kalimantan to observe its forests and peat land in my capacity as a United Nations envoy for the environment," Soros said.

He said that he would obtain a lot of information directly in the fields. Not only that, Soros said he would also get information directly from the locals staying in the forest surrounding.

"During my tropical forest trip I will get information directly from the field. I myself is a United Nations envoy for the environment and was assigned by the UN secretary general," Soros said.

In the meantime Central Kalimantan governor Agustin Teras Narang said Soros was interested in the local government`s policy, particularly on forest and peat land.

"Soros admitted that the Central Kalimantan government pay attention to the sustainability of forest and peat land," the governer said.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Indonesia risks losing 117 bird species

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 07/24/2010 10:27 PM

Environmental degradation will cause 117 bird species in Indonesia to vanish, a non-governmental organization predicts.

Fahrul Paja Amama of Burung Indonesia said on Saturday that 17 species were in a critical condition, 30 species were endangered and 70 others were vulnerable to extinction.

Conversion of green areas as habitat of the birds into buildings has been blamed for the disappearance of the species, other than uncontrolled hunting.

Indonesia is home to 1,599 bird species, including 353 endemic birds, joining the ranks of the world’s mega bird diversity. There are approximately 10,000 bird species all over the world.

Burung Indonesia’s head of business and communication development Henny M Sembiring added that rapid disappearance of bird species was even more obvious in Bogor Botanical Garden.

She said there were only about 50 bird species currently found in the garden, down from roughly 90 in 2006.

"We are not certain yet what have caused the birds to disappear, but we suspect their food supply has diminished due to the conversion of green areas into resettlement areas and the worsening quality of Ciliwung River,” she said as quoted by kompas.com.


Related Article:

Eruptions of mud and methane gas affecting NTB residents

Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang | Sat, 07/24/2010 10:41 AM |

At least 23 mud flows spewing methane gas have been found in Wiboa subdistrict in Kupang regency, East Nusa Tenggara, an official says.

Head of the regency's Environmental Impact Management Agency (Bapedalda), Victoria Kana Hebi, said some of the eruptions had created cones of mud with a diameter of between three and four meters wide, raising fears they could pose a threat to people's health and surrounding environment.

"We are also worried they may cause explosion of methane gas," she said.

She said the spots were similar to those previously found in Pantai Beringin and Poto subdistricts.

In the two subdistricts, the eruptions of mud had spread methane gas in a two-kilometer radius from their original source.

Victoria also raised concern that the mud could reach clean water sources and polluting them with sediments.

"We have deployed a technical team to observe the condition. We call on residents to avoid approaching the sites as the gas from the eruptions is toxic," she said.

Bapedalda has also took samples of the mud for further investigation into its chemical contents, she added.

Separately, geologist Herry Purnomo of the Bandung Geological and Vocanology Mitigation Agency said in Kupang that cold mud in Pantai Beringin and Poto could be the result of soil cracks.

"We have taken samples. We will know the substances contained in the mud only after laboratory tests have been conducted in Bandung *West Java*," Herry said.

He said that Timor Island has a lot of soil layer cracks that shift on tectonic plates and could be the cause of the eruptions.

Data at the Bapedalda Kupang shows that there are some 20 hot mud flows in Pantai Beringin and Poto subdistricts.

The eruptions' locations near residential areas has raised fears among residents, especially since no real efforts have been made by the local administration to stop the foul-smelling mud.

At least five mud eruptions have been found in the region over the last five years.

In Napan, Central Timor regency, the spews have created a mound of mud over seven meters high.

In East Amfoang, Kupang regency, a flow has created a lake of mud. While on Semau Island, another hill of mud has been created by a similar eruption.

The most sporadic eruptions occurred last year in di Mataloko, Golewa district in Ngada regency. Located near a geothermal exploration, the fumes were blamed for respiratory problems among residents in the surrounding areas.

The biggest mud flow disaster is located in Sidoarjo, East Java, which began spewing on May 29, 2006, when oil and gas company PT Lapindo Brantas, which is controlled by the family of Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie, drilled parts of the area.

At least 40,000 people have been displaced by the disaster, which the Supreme Court said could not be blamed on Lapindo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A fatwa on coffee?

RNW, 23 July 2010 - 9:10am | By Bari Muchtar

(Photo: Wikimedia)

Is a Muslim allowed to enjoy a cup of the world’s most expensive coffee? The chairman of the Indonesian Board of Ulamas (Muslim scholars) is debating this issue with two of the largest Muslim organisations in Indonesia. Khamami Zada from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), thinks the board should be dealing with more important matters than coffee beans that have been extracted from civet dung.

Luwak coffee is made from beans that have been eaten by a luwak – a kind of civet- and then passed through its intestines and defecated. It sounds pretty disgusting, but in actual fact Luwak coffee is said to taste quite special. The civet is very choosy when selecting the beans. He only eats the ripest and tastiest. The beans cost several hundreds of euros per kilo, because they are rare. Many people don’t like the idea of the beans having passed through the intestines of an animal. Many Muslims consider the coffee unclean.

Not urgent

Khamami Zada doesn’t agree with issuing a fatwa against coffee. "It is a problem concerning Islamic law and Muslims should be aware of the legal situation. But I believe issuing a fatwa against Luwak coffee is not an urgent matter.” There are only a few consumers who drink the coffee anyway.

According to Mr Zada, there are much more urgent issues that need dealing with at the moment. For example, the problem of corruption and the ‘legal mafia’, the illegal collaboration between criminals and members of official organisations. Khamami Zada: "If only the Board of Ulamas issued a fatwa against the ‘legal mafia’ and corrupt organisations. That would be much more beneficial for the Indonesian people, than worrying about Luwak coffee.”

Other problems that need attending to are terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. It would be a good idea if the board would issue a fatwa against this, says Khamami Zada. "This would have an effect on everybody. Not only on the Muslim community, but also all the other people who are affected by fundamentalism and terrorism."

Washed properly

In the near future the Board of Ulamas will be having a meeting with representatives of the largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia, with 100 million members. Ma'aruf Amin has already announced that Luwak coffee is halal, and therefore permitted. However, the beans do have to be washed properly and they are not allowed to be damaged.



FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2004 file photo, a civet cat climbs a coffee tree to eat ripe cherries at a farm in Indang, Cavite province in Philippines. Indonesia's top Islamic body said it may forbid followers from drinking the world's most expensive coffee, extracted from the dung of a civet cat, over concerns it is unclean as early as Tuesday, July 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File) (Bullit Marquez - AP)

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Six Endangered Sumatran Tiger Skulls, Body Parts Seized in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, July 20, 2010


In yet another blow to the hopes of survival of the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger, Indonesian authorities have detained two men found in possession of the skulls and other body parts of six recently slaughtered big cats. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)


Jakarta. Indonesian police have arrested two men on Sumatra island with six tiger skulls and other parts from the critically endangered species, an official said Monday.

The two were held Saturday in Pekanbaru city of Riau province as they picked up a package containing the skulls, five pieces of skin and bones, the provincial conservation agency head Trisunu Danis Woro said.

“It seems that the tigers have been killed a few days ago,” he told AFP adding that the package was delivered from Aceh province on the northern tip of the island.

“The men are not the main actor. Someone has ordered them to pick up the package,” he said.

There was no mention on the package of the sender’s identity and police were still hunting the culprits behind the poaching network, he said.

Conservationists estimate there are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild because of habitat loss and poaching.

In June Indonesian police arrested a man who allegedly poisoned and skinned an endangered Sumatran tiger in a state-owned zoo.

Representatives from 13 “tiger-range countries” met last week in Bali and drew up a declaration in a bid to save the big cats from extinction.

Agence France-Presse

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Two strong quakes strike Papua New Guinea

MSN, (AP), 18 July 2010

Two strong quakes strike
 Papua New Guinea
A strong 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said, around 30 minutes after a similar quake shook the same area.

The second quake hit at 11:35 pm local time (1335 GMT) around 105 kilometres (65 miles) east of Kandrian on New Britain island, USGS said, at a depth of 51 kilometres.

At 1304 GMT, USGS recorded a 6.9-magnitude quake 110 kilometres east of Kandrian, at a depth of 58 kilometres.

The epicentres of both quakes were around 525 kilometres northeast of Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a widespread destructive tsunami from either quake, based on previous earthquake and tsunami data.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Indonesia Agrees to Close Lethal Loophole to Save Orangutans

Jakarta Globe, July 16, 2010, Fidelis E Satriastanti



Though there are only 7,500 Sumatran orangutans left, Indonesian regulations don’t recognize the subspecies as endangered. (AFP Photo/Ho)


Sanur, Bali. The Indonesian government has pledged to amend existing regulations to support orangutan conservation efforts as part of a declaration drawn up at the conclusion of the International Workshop on Orangutan Conservation in Bali.

The meeting, which ended on Friday, called for a revision of the 1990 Natural Resources Conservation Law and a 1999 government regulation on plants and animal preservation, which conservationists and critics have called insufficient in helping end the illegal trade in the ape species.

The government has also said the hearings on the revisions would be open to the public.

Officials said the revisions should address at least one glaring gaffe in the 1999 regulation, which provides protection for endangered species, but does not recognize the Sumatran orangutan, one of two subspecies endemic to Indonesia, as being in that category.

However, the Sumatran orangutan is categorized as critically endangered in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s famous Red List of threatened species.

The Bornean orangutan, meanwhile, is categorized by the IUCN as endangered.

Both subspecies are also listed in Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which lists species threatened with extinction and affected by trade.

“For years those caught trading in or possessing Sumatran orangutans could never be charged because the animal isn’t considered a protected species,” said Abu Bakar Chekmat, head of the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

“All that we’ve been able to do is call on people, from local administration officials to private citizens, to stop poaching orangutans because they’re a protected species, which is effectively a public lie because the legislation doesn’t back that reasoning.”

Abu added that poachers had long exploited this loophole to sustain their trade, resulting in diminished numbers of Sumatran orangutans in the wild.

There are an estimated 7,500 of the subspecies left, compared with 45,000 Bornean orangutans.

The largest wild population of Sumatran orangutans is in Aceh’s Leuser National Park.

Samedi, a member of the National Forestry Council, welcomed the government’s commitment to address the shortcomings in the regulations.

“The government must amend the stipulated punishment for trading in protected and unprotected species,” he said.

Herry Djoko Susilo, chairman of the Indonesian Orangutan Forum (Forina), said the government’s commitment was just one part of the conservation effort, which also included NGOs, experts and the private sector.

“We appreciate the commitments made by the various stakeholders, and we call on them to carry them out consistently.”

He added that Forina’s role in the conservation effort was to monitor the roles played by all of the stakeholders.