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.

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)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adopting trees to save gibbon

Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, Sukabumi, West Java | Tue, 12/30/2008 11:03 AM

Protecting the critically endangered silvery gibbon -- a rare primate endemic to a few scattered forests in Java -- is proving to be increasingly difficult with poachers targeting them for their soft and velvety fur while locals remain unsympathetic to their plight.

"If we can't take timber from the forest anymore, then how will our children and grandchildren build houses?" said Iskandar, a villager from Cisalimar village in Sukabumi regency, West Java.

Salak National Park in Kabandungan district, Sukabumi regency, West Java. The 1,200-hectare corridor isolates primates and other animals. (JP/Theresia Sufa)

This question was raised during a meeting aimed at sharing information regarding the forest corridor at Mount Halimun Salak National Park.

Representatives from three kampongs, experts, the park head and around 30 others attended the discussion.

The central debate focused on whether or not villagers should be allowed to enter the forest and cut down trees, though other issues such as the restoration of the park's 1,200 hectare forest corridor were also discussed.

If the deforestation of the corridor continues, the habitats and communication patterns for the silvery gibbon (Hylobates moloch) will be further restricted, putting the future survival of their species at risk.

Currently, they are found in Javanese forests, particularly in areas within Mount Gede Pangrango National Park, the Mount Halimun Salak National Park and the Ujung Kulon National Park.

Head of Mount Halimun Salak National Park, Bambang Supriyanto, said the protected area covers around 113,357 hectares of forest.

It has been divided into three sections, located in Sukabumi and Bogor in West Java and in Banten province.

Community members and a park expert discuss the importance of the forest corridor at Halimun Salak National Park in Kabandungan district, Sukabumi regency, West Java. (JP/Theresia Sufa)

The corridor acts as a home to the silvery gibbon and spans 4,200 hectares, linking Mount Halimun and Mount Salak.

The park is currently working to restore the damaged corridor with Japan's Kagoshima University, primate researchers from Bogor Agriculture Institute (IPB) and botanic researchers and zoologists from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

Together, they have developed programs to conserve trees and conduct research in the corridor.

They have also investigated water catchment areas in the park, with 117 basins impacting on the environment downstream, such as in Depok, Jakarta and Tangerang.

"The environmental issues with the corridor is the biggest challenge we face," Bambang said.

He said large sections of the land have been used for inappropriate causes, such as farming.

"That is why I invited along the researchers from the IPB and the LIPI to help speed up the corridor's restoration using the kind of plants that are good for the community and are also good for wild animals," he said.

The park has introduced a tree adoption project involving the local community, where both individuals or companies can adopt trees.

For companies, the minimum involvement is planting five hectares of land with up to 2,000 trees for three years participation.

The money raised from the adoption program does not go the park but to the Gede Pahala Foundation.

"Through the foundation, we hope the public fund can be managed transparently and used for the benefits of communities living around the area," Bambang said.

The fund, he said, would be used to train the communities and help them grow seedlings, while the trees are maintained by local groups.

"When a tree dies they are also responsible for replanting it," he said.

The community is given assistance creating seedling beds, allowing those wanting to adopt trees to buy from the villagers and in turn, help raise their income.

The villagers are also required to plant trees, especially fruit trees and those of hard wood, in empty plots around their homes so they do not have to enter the forest to seek timber to build houses.

IPB's primate researcher, Dones Rinaldi, said this action in preserving the corridor should continue in a way where the valleys and hill slopes are maintained in their original environments.

The forest is also the habitat for the Javanese eagle and the trees are good for nest building and for supplying prey, predominantly small mammals.

He said the Halimun and Salak zones should not be disturbed and preferably secured to let the original forest grow again, while the cleared zones should be well supervised to ensure there were no more intrusions.

Currently human activities within the corridor are still too high, mainly because there are many roads passing through the passageway from north to south.

Moreover, timber harvesting projects and the cultivation of non-irrigated fields have slowly begun in the corridor, and infrastructure like power lines and pipelines have crept into its zone.

He said situation has disturbed the life of primates and wild animals living in the park.

"Primates are one of the wild animal groups which can serve as indicators of the ecological health of a forest," Dones said.

The primates' knowledge of their territory can provide information about the condition of a habitat, which in turn can be useful in managing and rehabilitating the area.

"Damage to the environment in the corridor between Mount Halimun and Mount Salak ruins the habitat of the primates. This threatens the existence of wild animals because they are then vulnerable to poaching," said Dones.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dairy Farming Beneath the City’s Bustle

Ismira Lutfia, The Jakarta Globe, December 30, 2008

Dairy farmers in Jakarta continue the family tradition as they raise their own families and milk their cows just blocks from high-end malls and international businesses. (Photo: Rezza Estily, Antara)

Hidden in the mazes of houses and office towers in Jakarta’s business districts are traditional backyard cow farms whose existence has spanned three generations.

When one looks at the modern malls, hotels, apartment buildings and embassies that line the Mega Kuningan area, one doesn’t expect to see a barn occupied by 70 cows tucked beneath the glitzy facade.

The 2,500-meter-square parcel of land belongs to the 14 children of Kyai Zarkasi, who inherited the land from his father, Guru Mugni.

Mirdan and Ridho, two of Zarkasi’s sons, run the business and produce 400 liters of milk daily.

“The farm has been here since 1977,” said Abdul Rahman, another brother and the eighth-born child.

Rahman said they sell half the day’s production to individual milk vendors for Rp 3,500 (32 cents) to Rp 4,500 per liter depending on quality. The remainder goes to a regional farmers’ cooperative in Poltangan, Pasar Minggu, that sells milk to large dairy producers such as Indomilk.

He said there used to be a number of backyard farms in the area but many were relocated to Pondok Ranggon in East Jakarta, or to Depok, in West Java Province, when much of the land was relinquished to set up the Mega Kuningan area.

Another farmer, Ahmad, simply moved to the neighboring subdistrict of Mampang Prapatan.

Ahmad said the farm his grandfather passed to his father was located in Kuningan. His father did not want to move to Depok so in 1990 he moved his family and eight cows to a 1,200-square-meter property in Mampang instead. Ahmad now occupies the land with his five siblings and their families.

Despite pre-existing dairy farms in the area, he said his father faced objections from new settlers.

“I remember seeing my father distribute ‘envelopes’ to officials from the subdistrict and the mayoralty almost every day during our first year here,” Ahmad said.

Eventually the objections faded and Ahmad now runs the farm with two brothers, Zainal and M. Yusuf. The 16 cows in the barn at the back of their house produce around 100 liters of milk daily. He said he would like to relocate his farm to Bogor but did not have the necessary capital.

One of the biggest farmers in the area is Haji A. Wardi, whose modern-looking house on Mampang Prapatan XV does not show any signs of the traditional cow farm in its backyard. Wardi said there are at least five other farms along his street.

His farm, which was also passed on to him and his siblings by their grandfather, houses 70 cows.

On the other side of the street, in the myriad of alleys between Mampang Prapatan XI and XIV, brothers Lufti and Barkah run a smaller farm with 12 cows entrusted to them by their father, who also inherited the business from his father.

Lutfi said that the profit they make from selling milk was enough to support their family. “This is our way of living and we don’t think of doing anything else,” he said.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas vacation

Antara, Mon December 29, 2008, Cisarua, Bogor.

A child gives a carrot to elephant in Taman Safari Indonesia in Cisarua, Bogor, West Java, Monday (Dec.29). Thousands people was visit the animal conservation in Christmas holiday. (ANTARA photo/Jafkhairi)

Mt. Semeru still in alert status despite eruptions, ashes

The Jakarta Post, Lumajang | Mon, 12/29/2008 3:57 PM

Mount Semeru of Lumajang regency in East Java is still on an alert status despite its increasing activities like spewing ashes, eruptions and tremors in the past 15 days, has reported.

On Monday alone, the 3,676-meter of mountain has erupted and produced hot smoke for five times. Explosions have occurred 189 times, with one tremor so far.

Meanwhile, ashes keep on disrupting activities of residents living across 15 districts, out of 21, in the regency.

Chair of the regency's health and social protection agency Wisu Wasono Adi told on Monday that his office was preparing maskers for residents to protect themselves against the ashes.

"Residents can take the maskers in their nearby local health centers and district offices for free of charge," he said.

Head of the mountain observation center Suparno said that heavy rain and cloud were coming along with the eruptions since Monday morning. (ewd)


The Jakarta Post | Mon, 12/29/2008 10:55 AM 



GREEN HOPE 2009: Green activists straighten out a huge poster calling people to "act now, earth can't wait" hanging on the Welcome Statue at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout on Sunday. The poster is part of the Green Hope 2009 campaign, spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment and a number of green organizations to promote environmental protection in 2009. JP/Ricky Yudhistira

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Getting back to nature, the herbal way

Juliana Harsianti, Contributor The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 07/16/2008 12:29 PM 

The peculiar-sounding plant names Lidah Mertua and Ekor Kucing may seem unfamiliar, but most people would recognize the two plants if they saw them. 

And the place to see them is Kampoeng Djamoe Organik (KaDO), a herbal medicine village set up by Martha Tilaar, the owner of traditional cosmetics brand Sariayu. 


  Children play in the gardens of Kampoeng Djamoe Organik herbal medicine village set up by cosmetics giant Martha Tilaar, in Cikarang, East Jakarta. (JP/Juliana Harsianti)  

Given the village is all about greenery and nature, its location is rather unexpected -- it lies in the middle of East Jakarta's industrial park in Cikarang, on a 10-hectare plot originally intended for one of Sariayu's factories. 

But after the monetary crisis in the late 1990s, the owner chose to use the land to create a park featuring traditional Indonesian plants -- a project a long time in the making. 

"Many people can't believe we first started preparing this place in 1996," said Iqbal, the operational manager of KaDO. 

It took three years to convert the former industrial area into an arable plot of land and then plant the selected herbs and shrubs, he said. 

In mid-2000, KaDO was opened to the public. Of the 10 hectares, four are dedicated to therapeutic herbs, flowers and fishponds, displaying a wide range of genuine Indonesian herbs with medicinal properties. 

Among the park's visitors are families, school students and tourists, as well as those who are training in or otherwise studying medicinal plants. 


  Traditional herbal plants are marked throughout the village. (JP/Juliana Harsianti)

Visitors are given information about the herbs, postharvesting processes and the plants' uses in jamu (herbal medicine) and cosmetics. They can also learn how to prepare popular jamu recipes such as kunyit asam (turmeric and tamarind), beras kencur (rice and galangal root) and cabe lempuyang (chili and wild ginger). 

When The Jakarta Post visited KaDO, families were leisurely strolling around the KaDO grounds. Children were running along the paths between the garden beds of medicinal plants. Others were looking at the herbs, reading out their names and asking guides about plants that sounded unfamiliar. 

"As you can see, the extensive green areas allow greater freedom for children to play," said Neni, a guide at the village. 

With such a vast -- and rare -- green area, KaDO also gives visitors the opportunity to grow and take care of their own plants and enjoy their harvests. 

"Many people like growing quick-yielding vegetables that require little maintenance. All the plants here are organically raised, which means they are safe for our health and the environment," Neni said. 

But the park has more than just plants. 

"We also raise domestic animals here such as cows and goats," Neni said. 

"Besides maintaining the ecosystem, they are a source of amusement for guests. A lot of city children have never seen cows or touched them, even though they may consume beef daily." 

Indeed, the cows roaming through the village were soon surrounded by children, who watched and patted the animals with curiosity. The cattle seemed only too happy to step into the spotlight and pose with the children for group photographs. 

"For those who prefer to visit for more than one day, we offer wooden houses as accommodation, which creates a rural atmosphere," Iqbal said. 

Facilities for physical fitness and beauty care are available for those who wish to do yoga or take make-up lessons. 

KaDO also seeks to attract corporate customers in Cikarang and Jakarta. 

"Instead of going to other cities further away, company employees can take breaks and vacations here, in office groups or with their peers," Iqbal added. 

And visitors do not go home empty handed -- KaDO gives away potted plants to be grown at home, such as Zodia, a natural mosquito repellent. And the best of it is these plants require no special care -- they can endure harsh conditions with minimum maintenance. 

"Apart from their use for greening up the environment, such plants are beneficial to us," Iqbal said.


Related Article:



Way Kambas river overflows, inundates two Lampung regencies

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 12/28/2008 11:45 AM

The Way Sekampung River in Lampung, South Sumatera, overflowed inundating two Lampung regencies and diplacing hundreds of residents.

"The Way Sekampung overflowed due to heavy rain for the past three days and also tidal waves," Sragi subdistrict head, Tanggun, said, as quoted by

The four inundated subdistricts are Sragi, Jabung, Pasir Sakti and Sekampung Udik in East Lampung.

Tempo reported that Bandar Agung village in Sragi and Sumur Kucing village in Pasir Sakti were the worst hit.

The water height at both villages were reportedly up to 2.5 meters.

The recent floods, Lampung's biggest since 1988, have caused hundreds of residents to relocate to higher grounds and set up makeshift camps.

Thousands of hectares of dikes and rice fields were also inundated.

The South and East Lampung regional offices have reportedly distributed medicine and food to victims at makeshift shelters. (amr)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Regulator says Gresik mud spew harmless

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 12/26/2008 9:05 PM

The upstream oil and gas regulator (BP Migas) stated Friday afternoon that the mud and gas eruption in Gresik was harmless and that it was of a different nature from the ongoing mudflow in Sidoarjo, East Java.

"This is not an extraordinary incident and it's harmless. The public came to the scene out of curiosity," said BP Migas spokesperson Agus Trinugroho near the scene of the incident in Sekarkurung village.

Agus explained the incident occurred because of a failure in the drilling process jointly undertaken by Indonesia's oil and gas firm Pertamina and China's Petrochina.

Earlier, BP Migas had reported the spewing mud and gas began when the drilling operators were replacing one drill bit with another.

Agus said the Gresik gas and mud spew was caused solely by the failure of the drill bit whereas the mudflow in Sidoardjo was caused by an earthquake.

"It's different, so there's nothing to worry about," he said.

He added incidents like this were commonplace in a drilling operation. "It was the pulling out of the drill bit and the bore from the well that caused a reactive kickback of mud and gas to come out of the ground," he said.

"We will solve this step by step. Later tonight we will try to put the bore back down the well to 2,300 feet below the ground using a 958-inch pipe," he said. (and)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Rubber Employee

Antara, 26 December 2008 

Some worker is carrying rubber sap in Pasang Panti plantation in Jember, East Java, Friday (Dec.26). They are gets salary of 3,750 rupiah for collect a kilogram rubber sap from trees in this plantation. (ANTARA photo/Seno S)

Jakarta to spearhead environmental program

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 12/26/2008 11:21 AM  

On Wednesday, the central government and environmentalists launched the 2009 Green Hope program, aiming to mobilize public participation in global conservation efforts. 

The national program will include a yearlong calendar of environmental activities involving residents. 

"We have regular car restriction days in some main thoroughfares, but we need more activities that also involve non-governmental institutions as organizers," Jakarta Environment Management Board (BPLHD) chairman Budirama Natakusumah said. 

"Environmental programs are a big issue in the country and the government cannot work on them alone." 

Launched at the State Ministry for the Environment in Jakarta, 2009 Green Hope is a nationwide campaign to educate people about environmental issues. 

The opening activity is scheduled for Dec. 28 at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, Central Jakarta, which will include a fun bike program, a photo exhibition on environmental issues, and performances. 

The projects sponsors include World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia, Civil Society Forum, Science Esthetic Technology, Bike to Work and Pelangi Indonesia Foundation. 

Hendry Bastaman, deputy minister of communication and people's empowerment said his office was still looking for the most effective way to communicate with the general public regarding environmental issues. 

"We know it is not easy for people to digest environmental issues. We have tried for years. We are sure Green Hope will be effective in promoting the importance of protecting our natural world," Hendry said. 

Both the government and activists in Jakarta say water shortages, lack of water catchment areas, pollution and environmental damage will remain serious problems next year. 

"Jakartans are still smoking in forbidden places and disposing of garbage anywhere they please. They still waste water, electricity and fuel," Budirama said. 

"Most residents are somehow reluctant to make the city cleaner and greener, even though they know and aware about it." 

According to Elshinta of WWF, people were now trying to survive in this world by damaging the environment. Many environmental problems were man-made, she said. 

"Ready or not people have to face water shortages, land shortages, deforestation and climate change as consequences. 

"We have to do something because the condition of our environment is getting worse. Do something, because the earth can not wait," she said. (naf)

President checks Tsunami Drill preparation in Manado

Manado (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono here on Friday morning checks the preparation of tsunami drill which is to be conducted on Saturday, December 27, 2008.

On the occasion North Sulawesi Governor SH Sarundajang, Research and Technology Minister Kusmayanto Kadiman, and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi explained the official steps relating to activity to the president.

Indonesian flag flies over debris at Meulobah, Aceh Earthquake 9.2 / Tsunami Disaster December 2004

The tsunami simulation drill in Manado, North Sulawesi, was originally scheduled for Friday, December 26, but the president decided to adjourn it to Saturday because on Friday it was in conjunction with the second day of Christmas.

The simulation drill would be organized by the Research and Technology Ministry in cooperation with the Meteorology and Geophysics Aggency (BMG) in conjunction with the commemoration of the devastating tsunami that hit Aceh province on December 26, 2004.

After checking the preparation, President Yudhoyono and his entourage would leave Manado for Jakarta at 10:30 on Friday morning.

The chairman of the event`s organizing committee, HR Makagansa, said here recently that the tsunami simulation drill would need the participation of at least 15,000 volunteers who would be recruited from among the general public, civil servants, military, police and quarters responsible for rescue management in a tsunami disaster, students and medical staffers.

The committee had decided 11 points to be the tracks of evacuation during the simulation, among others Lorong Miftahul Janah, Pancaran Kasih Hospital, Tombariri viallge, Tomohon village, Kakas village, Piere Tendean street, Rex Mundi Foundation, Lorong Pondol, Gunung Langit, and the International Trade Center.

Some of the victims in the drill would be evacuated to the Adventist Hospital, Teling Hospital, and the North Sulawesi governor`s office.

Meanwhile, Governor SH Sarundajang said Manado city and coastal areas in North Sulawesi were prone to earthquakes capable of triggering tsunami.

North Sulawesi and Gorontalo provinces were jolted by three consecutive powerful earthquakes measuring 7.7, 6.0, and 5.7 on the Richter scale respectively last November 17, 2008.

Related Articles:

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto: Working as the hand of God in Aceh

Improvements seen four years after the Indian Ocean tsunami

Images of Aceh Earthquake 9.2 /Tsunami Disaster December 2004

Forest conversion, poaching at Manusela kill rare Seram cockatoo

M. Azis Tunny, The Jakarta Post, Masohi | Fri, 12/26/2008 11:20 AM

The Seram cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis), an endemic bird species found mainly on the islands of Seram, Haruku, Saparua and Ambon, Maluku, is on the verge of extinction due to widespread poaching and forest clearing, a conservationist says.

In the 1990s there were more than 1,000 Seram cockatoos in the wild on Seram island, but now this number has dwindled to 400, and the bird is increasingly endangered on the other three islands, Manusela National Park chief Supriyanto said.

"Besides poaching, the bird is threatened because of a loss of habitat from forest clearing. It not only lives in national park areas but also in farmland which were once forested," he told The Jakarta Post recently at his office in Masohi, Central Maluku.

Supriyatno said it was difficult to differentiate between private land and national parks in Seram because many forested areas were privately owned.

"Many farm owners have felled large trees to make way for cacao, nutmeg and clove farms. The condition has had an adverse impact on the population of the cockatoo, not to mention poaching," he said.

While it is protected by the 1990 law on the conservation of natural resources and ecosystems, the rare orange-crested cockatoo remains subject to poaching for illegal trade.

According to ProFauna Indonesia conservation group, at least 1,000 Seram cockatoos were poached and traded in Jakarta between December 2003 and May 2004.

"The poaching rate has dropped now because we have rebuilt three of the five observation posts that were destroyed by fire in the Maluku riots. We have also empowered local communities as rangers for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (PRS) to reduce poaching in the area.

"There are still instances of poaching, but the frequency has declined," Supriyanto said.

The 1990 law clearly stipulates that those involved in the trade of protected wildlife, such as the Seram cockatoo, are liable to a 5-year prison sentence and a Rp 100 million (US$9,132) fine.

"We at the national park, are committed to reducing the poaching rate of this bird species," Supriyanto said.

To overcome the poaching and forest clearing, Manusela National Park has developed an effective strategy by involving traditional communities -- who once hunt down cockatoos and other wildlife for meat -- as PRS rangers in and around the park.

"We will maintain the large trees that serve as cockatoo habitat by involving villagers and farm owners as wardens.

"Besides receiving salaries, they can also earn extra income by serving visitors as guides for tracking and bird observation in the park," Supriyatno said, adding that the activities would have a positive impact on the wildlife in and around the park.

Manusela National Park, which covers some 189,000 hectares, is also home to a number of other endemic wildlife species, including a variety of rodents, the slow loris (Spilocuccuc maculates), black-crested parrots (Lorius domicella), Raja or king parrot (Alisterus amboinensis), the casuary (Casusricus casuarius) and Seram gecko.

The park also contains 24 tree, 120 fern, 100 moss and 96 orchid species.

Supriyanto said the park, which presents the Seram cockatoo as its mascot, receives around 150 visitors annually, mostly from the Netherlands and the United States.

The foreign visitors usually come for tracking and bird watching which they can do from atop a number of towers (up to 30 meters high) around the park, from where they can watch more than 20 bird species daily.

Visitors arriving at the Pattimura Airport in Ambon must take a two-hour speedboat ride from Tulehu village (east of Ambon island) to Masohi, Central Maluku, and then another four-hour overland journey by car to reach Manusela's front gates in North Seram.


Antara, 26 December 2008

An orangutan embraces his baby in Taman Safari Indonesia II in Prigen, Pasuruan, East Java, Thursday (Dec.25). This baby was born in Christmas day (Natal) get name Natalia. (ANTARA photo/Musyawir)

Thursday, December 25, 2008


The Jakarta Post | Thu, 12/25/2008 9:42 PM 



Young women from Lelea near West Java's north coast mark their marriagability by participating in the annual Ngarot festival to mark the planting of new rice. Their headdresses are made from hundreds of flowers and weigh several kilograms. The community holds the festival to guarantee a good harvest in the coming season. (JP/Edith A. Johnson)

West Java to get food center, governor

Bandung, W Java (ANTARA News) - The West Java provincial government will build a food center which will also function as a wholesale rice market to cut down the chain of national rice distribution, an official said on Thursday.

"West Java has rice barns, so why must the distribution of our rice depend on other regions? I am sure the food center will become a center of national rice distribution," West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan said.

West Java has a number of potential rice barns in Cirebon, Indramayu, Subang, Karawang, and Bekasi.

"The embryo of food center in Pantura (West Java's northern coastal area) has been there, such as in Indramayu and Subang. It is expected the soon-to-be-formed institution can play a role in rice distribution in the future," he said.

Currently, the Cipinang wholesale rice market plays a role in setting the national rice prices and the distribution of the staple.

According to the results of a research conducted by the Bandung-based Padjadjaran University, some 80 percent of the rice in the wholesale rice market is supplied by West Java, he said.

West Java supplies about 594,742 tons of rice to the Cipinang wholesale rice market per year, he said.

"Once the food center becomes operational, it will increase local farmers' living standards. They will have a strong bargaining power in setting the prices," Heryawan told.

To increase the productivity of paddy field in West Java, he said the province will set aside Rp1.1 trillion in funds to repair irrigation networks in 2009.

The project is particularly aimed at handling water shortages faced by farm land of types III and IV which only produce rice once a year due to the water shortages, he said.

"By doing so, the paddy field of types II and IV can produce rice at least twice a year," he said.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cocoa prices hit a 23-year-high

BBC Worldnews

London cocoa futures have hit a 23-year-high as cocoa turned out to be the most lucrative commodity in 2008.

Cocoa for delivery in May peaked at £1,820 per tonne in London, which was its highest price since October 1985.

Cocoa traded in the US has also been rising, although not as strongly because of the strength of the dollar.

Most commodities are priced in dollars, even in London trading, but London cocoa is priced in sterling, so traders can benefit from the weaker currency.

"Cocoa is on fire," said Sterling Smith from FuturesOne in Chicago.

"We have supply concerns continuing. The market is plenty bullish and we have plenty of room to go on the upside," he added.

There are concerns about falling cocoa production in Africa, while demand for cocoa is holding up much better than other commodities in the downturn.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lampung builds special school to support bioenergy program

Oyos Saroso H.N., The Jakarta Post, Bandarlampung | Tue, 12/23/2008 10:59 AM

The Lampung provincial administration is building an integrated biofuel school in Central Lampung regency as part of its plan to become a national bioenergy center.

Construction of the special school in Sulusuban village, Central Lampung, is expected to cost Rp 216 billion (US$19.6 million), funded by the central government (50 percent), province (30 percent) and regency (20 percent).

Construction work commenced in the middle of the year and is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Head of the Lampung office Development Planning Board, Suryono S.W., said the school would be located within the compound of the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) in Sulusuban village in Seputihagung district.

"The budgeted Rp 216 billion will be used to build the school, from elementary to university levels. A vocational school will be built in the initial phase, followed by a polytechnic," Suryono said recently.

"Both schools will focus on the field of bioenergy. The integrated school will also be associated with BPPT's large-scale projects."

According to Suryono, the Lampung provincial administration is serious about turning the province into a center for renewable energy. It is also actively seeking to attract investors in building cassava- and jatropha-based biofuel plants, as well as supporting and empowering farmers to cultivate the crops.

"A number of investors from South Korea and China have currently signed memorandums of understanding with the Lampung administration to build bioenergy plants. BPPT in Sulusuban has also spearheaded bioethanol development in Indonesia," Suryono said.

"So it's very timely that the administration is working with the BPPT in setting up and developing the special school."

He said the potential for bioenergy in Lampung was very promising because of the area's vast cassava plantations and a number of bioethanol plants in Central and North Lampung regencies.

"They should be supported by skilled workers in the field of bioenergy. That's why we have built the integrated bioenergy school," he added.

The cooperation with BPPT, said Suryono, took the form of land use and provision of teaching staff.

"BPPT has provided 317 hectares for the school, and construction commenced this year," he said.

A number of investors have been building bioethanol factories in Lampung since 2006. PT Medco, for instance, has invested $40 million in North Lampung in developing renewable bioethanol at an output capacity of 60 million liters annually.

The plant also produces biogas to feed boilers, 33,000 metric tons of liquid carbon dioxide, 13,000 metric tons of organic fertilizer and 118,000 liters of fusel oil.

In Central Lampung, PT Medco has built a biodiesel plant based on crude palm oil at a cost of around $6 million, deriving raw materials from palm oil farmers.

For raw materials, PT Medco has developed a partnership program encompassing six districts in Central Lampung over a total of 7,901 hectares: Pubiam (1,773 ha), Padang Ratu (1,939 ha), Selagai Lingga (1,178 ha), Sendang Agung (972 ha), Anak Tuha (1,662 ha) and Anak Ratu Aji (377 ha).

PT Madu Lampung Indah has also set up a bioethanol plant with an output capacity of 50 million liters annually. It is currently using about 1,600 hectares of cassava farms and expects to be able to manage 4,000 hectares of cassava farms in partnership programs with farmers in East and South Lampung regencies.

The Lampung BPPT office has been developing bioenergy fuel since the 1980s, with the arrival of equipment bought with the assistance of the Japanese government. Researchers at BPPT have conducted further studies on other raw materials for bioethanol, such as sugarcane, corn and other crops.

Earlier, Lampung BPPT researchers developed raw material for bioethanol from molasses at a 20.5 percent sugar content. However, sugarcane supplies were limited at the time because of the demand from the food industry.

One BPPT researcher, Arief Yudiarto, said that, according to Lampung BPPT's estimates, Indonesia would have to set up 50 new bioethanol-processing plants by 2010 if the entire petroleum demand in Indonesia were replaced by gasohol, which has an ethanol content of 10 percent (Gasohol BE-10).

"That is if Indonesia wants to be serious about developing renewable energies," Arief said.

Four baby Rhinos discovered in Ujung Kulon

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 12/23/2008 12:17 PM  

The Ujung Kulon National Park (TNUK) discovered four baby Rhinoceros during a routine census in Pandeglang, Banten, West Java, earlier this month, reported on Tuesday. 

"The discovery of the Rhino babies shows that they're still procreating and regeneration is ongoing," TNUK head Agus Primabudi said. 

He added that four baby Rhinos varied in sizes. The smallest of the babies's front and back foot was measured at 17 and 18 centimeters in diameter, whereas the largest was 23 and 24 centimeters respectively. 

TNUK reported that a total of 50 Rhinoceros were recorded in 2008.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wild tiger flies back to nature

Hotli Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post, Banda Aceh | Mon, 12/22/2008 11:04 AM

Nagan, a tiger from Nagan Raya, Aceh, lies in a cage in the backyard of the Aceh Nature Conservation Agency on Wednesday. The recently caught rare tiger is one of a decreasing population because ongoing deforestation is destroying its habitat. (JP/Hotli Simanjuntak)

After being in quarantine for more than a month in the backyard of the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA), a wild Sumatran tiger captured in Jantho was finally released back to its habitat on Sunday.

The female tiger, believed to be 18 months old, was caught in a trap by the BKSDA following reports that it was terrorizing people living at the foot of the Bukit Barisan mountain range, some 40 kilometers southeast of Banda Aceh.

A helicopter was used to help release the tiger into Pucok Krueng Merah forest, Pidie Jaya, Aceh, the habitat of the renowned and rare Sumatran tiger.

The effort was jointly funded by a number of NGOs including Flora Fauna International, Leuser Ecosystem Foundation, Ekolestari Foundation, Vessweic and BKSDA Aceh with the help of the Iskandar Muda military air base.

"We allocated thousands of dollars for the release," Mike Griffiths of the Leuser Ecosystem Foundation said.

Griffiths said a number of wild animals, including tigers, had been driven out of their natural habitat because of illegal logging, including in the Pidie area, where the tiger is believed to have come from.

Illegal logging has increased since peace returned to Aceh after decades of war and insurgency, he said.

"During the conflict, no people dared go into the forest. Now, people return to forests, cut down trees and do farming," he said.

BKSDA Aceh has recorded a total of 10 incidents of tigers frightening people living near forests in seven regencies in the past two years.

BKSDA Aceh has trapped a number of wild tigers creating problems in villages near the forests. The agency is currently holding one wild tiger in quarantine.

Last June, the agency released five Sumatran tigers into the wild in Lampung because of the depletion of forests in Aceh.

Official estimates in 1992 put the population of Sumatran tigers at five national conservation forests in Sumatra at 400, of which 110 were in Leuser in Aceh. The number is believed to be much lower now.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Indonesia temporarily shuts Thai Lanna coal unit ops

Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:08am EST

JAKARTA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Indonesia has ordered a unit of Thai coal miner and ethanol producer Lanna Resources PCL LANN.BK to temporarily halt coal production after it was found to be in violation of mining operation rules, an energy and mines official said on Friday.

PT Lanna Harita Indonesia, which operates a coal mine in East Kalimantan, did not reclaim idle mining pits, causing one of the pits to break down during the wet season and flood nearby a village, said MS Marpaung, a director at the energy and mines ministry.

"They should do reclamation on idle mining pits but they didn't. They didn't exercise good mining practice," Marpaung said.

"As the head of mining inspection, we have the authority to close down the mine until they can improve it," he said.

The ministry ordered the firm to halt its coal production early this month and gave it three months to do reclamation on its idle mining pits before it could resume production, Marpaung said.

Officials from Thai Lanna and PT Lanna Harita Indonesia could not be reached immediately for comment.

Despite temporarily shutting down on production, the firm will still be allowed to export coal which had been collected in stockpile, Marpaung said.

Lanna Resources owns 55 percent of PT Lanna Harita Indonesia (LHI), the firm said in its website.

It has mineable reserves estimated at 15 million tonnes with annual production of 1.5 million tonnes. (Reporting by Fitri Wulandari, editing by Ben Tan)

Child drowns as massive floods hit Lampung

Oyos Saroso H.N., The Jakarta Post, Bandarlampung | Sat, 12/20/2008 12:11 PM 


TRICKLE-DOWN EFFECT: Heavy rains eroded the hill on which the elite housing complex of Bukit Rasuna sits in Bandarlampung, Lampung Province, causing mud and stone to fall on areas downhill. (JP/Oyos Saroso)

A 3-year-old child drowned following two consecutive days of massive floods that were triggered by torrential rains in Bandarlampung city, Lampung. 

Besides engulfing a number of residential areas up to roof height, floods also swamped major thoroughfares, with water and mud up to 1.5 meters deep, paralyzing the city until midnight on Thursday. 

In Kupangteba, North Telukbetung, 3-year-old Febriansyah (son of Sayuti, 43) was found dead 7 kilometers away at Lampung Bay beach after the boy had been swept away by a flash flood. 

Floods in Central Tanjungkarang district also inundated the Abdoel Moeloek General Hospital after the Way Awi River swelled bursting its banks and an embankment separating the river and the hospital. 

Hospital authorities were forced to evacuate patients to other wards. 

A printing shop in Pasir Gintung, Central Tanjungkarang district, was also flooded. 

"Water suddenly rushed into the shop. I didn't have time to save the documents and printing materials. My printing machine was also damaged by the water," said Agus Sahlan, 32. 

Two hours of heavy rains in Bandarlampung on Thursday afternoon eroded the hill at the Bukit Rasuna upscale housing estate, sending mud gushing into areas below. 

The area had been an urban catchment and protected forest area before it was developed into an elite housing complex. 

Three homes collapsed and hundreds of others in the area, including a junior high school, were covered in mud. 

A retaining wall, built by the developer, which could not withstand the floods, collapsed and sent large rocks rolling down Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said. Traffic was disrupted as the road became filled with rocks and mud. 

No casualties were reported in the incident, but residents remain worried of a recurrence. 

"There are still many boulders on top of the hill. We fear mud and rocks could hit our homes in the heavy rains tonight," said a Pengajaran resident, Rosanah, 56. 

Another resident, M. Faqih, 45, said flood water and mud had swamped his home at 4.40 p.m. on Thursday. 

"After the rain and water subsided, my house was filled with 20 cm of mud," Faqih said. 

Faqih was unsure why Bandarlampung Mayor Eddy Sutrisno had given approval to develop the protected area. 

"Every time it rains heavily in Bandarlampung, we become worried that bigger floods will come. We demand the housing development project stop. If not, we will force the developers to stay at our homes," Faqih said. 

Last October, residents and activists from environmental groups held a protest against the housing development because they said the clearing of an urban forest would damage catchment areas that are relied upon by thousands of residents in Bandarlampung. 

Indonesian Forum for the Environment's (Walhi) Lampung chapter director, Hendrawan, said the Wednesday and Thursday floods in Bandarlampung were the worst the area had seen for 23 years. 

"Bandarlampung is apparently prone to floods every wet season, but never as bad as this," he said. 

"The flooding this year is worse and more dangerous than the floods in Jakarta because Bandarlampung is surrounded by hills which are susceptible to erosion and landslides." 

Hendrawan said the Bandarlampung floods were the result of a poor drainage system and the destruction of forests in the area.