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)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quake felt on Mount Sinabung

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 08/30/2010 9:57 AM

A five-minute earthquake rattled villages near Mount Sinabung, North Sumatra, on Monday as the volcano continued to spew ash clouds.

Irfin Dian, a Kabanjahe resident, said the temblor was felt for five minutes, before Mount Sinabung spewed thick black clouds.

Several residents, who were eating their early morning meal before fasting, fled their homes because of the quake.

"They were anticipating the worst," Dian said.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Illegal hunters seriously hinder wildlife surveys

Antara News, Monday, August 30, 2010 20:51 WIB

Bengkulu (ANTARA News) - The presence of illegal hunters have become a serious hindrance to conservationists in Bengkulu Province who conduct surveys of endangered species, including Sumatran tigers (Phantera Tigris Sumatrae).

Chairman of Bengkulu Province`s Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) Andi Basrah said here Monday that two suspected hunters had recently been arrested while selling preserved tigers.

The suspects admitted that they got the preserved tigers through hunting activities by using such tools as trap nets and baits, he said.

It was not difficult to hunt Sumatran tigers now because they could be found near villages as a result of their damaged natural habitat, he said.

Basrah said the total population of Sumatran tigers was expected to reach 400 but it was not easy to conduct a survey to find out the current population of these big cats partly due to limited budgets.

Besides huge fund, the survey should also be supported by competent human resources, he said adding that illegal hunters were threatening the habitats of such endangered animals as the Sumatran tiger, elephant, and bear.

Spokesman of Bengkulu Province`s BKSDA, Supatono, recently said the precise number of Sumatran tigers in the province was not known partly because of lack of supporting facilities and competent human resources.

The Sumatran tigers` tracks could only be detected after locals reported about those wild animals, he said.

Residents of three villages in Maje sub-district, Kaur district, had recently been shocked by the coming of several Sumatran tigers.

After conservationists had studied the causing factors, it was found that three villages` areas were part of the Sumatran tigers` habitat, Supatono said.

The hungry tigers were also reported to have attacked some villagers` goats and dogs, he said.

About the government`s efforts to increase the population of Sumatran tigers from 400 to 800 by 2012, he said this ambition remained challenged by some unfavorable factors.

The factors were, among others, poor habitat, insufficient food, and poor surveillance of illegal hunting activities, he said.

In handling those illegal hunters, a comprehensive task force involving forest rangers, police and military apparatuses, environmentalists, and conservationists, was needed, he said.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Govt admits to misjudging Mount Sinabung eruption

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 08/29/2010 5:25 PM

A safer place: Villagers who flee erupting Mount Sinabung rest at a temporary
shelter in Tanah Karo, North Sumatra, on Sunday. (AP/Binsar Bakkara)

The government admitted it misjudged Mount Sinabung’s eruption potential after previously deeming the volcano “safe”. The mountain erupted early Sunday morning, forcing thousands of nearby villagers to seek safer locations.

“Four months ago we conducted an earthquake mitigation survey covering West Sumatra, North Sumatra, Bengkulu, Lampung and Aceh. However, at that time we did not prioritize Mt. Sinabung as a disaster prone site,” presidential special aid on natural disasters Andi Arief said on his Twitter account Sunday, as quoted by

Andi’s statement corrected a previous announcement made by Surono, chief of the Medan-based Vulcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center, who said that local residents did not have to worry about increased activity at Mt. Sinabung.

The mountain was considered “not a dangerous volcano,” Surono said.

Another eruption: Mount Sinabung in Karo Regency, North Sumatra, shows
 another eruption and spews more hot ashes into the air, on Monday.
(Antara/Kiki Cahyadi)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Govt prepares preservation for Sumatra Tigers

Antara News, Saturday, August 28, 2010 19:52 WIB

Bengkulu  (ANTARA News) - In dealing with Sumatran tiger attacks to housing complexes in Sumatra island, the Forestry Ministry planned to move the endangered species to three national parks, an official said.

"We have prepared three national parks as new home to the tigers," Director General of Conservatory Forest`s Security, Darori, said here on Saturday after attending the release of a previously captured Sumatran tiger to the Bukit Barisan Selatan national park area.

Darori said the three new habitats for the existing Sumatran tiger were Kerinci Seblat national park (Jambi province), Gunung Leuser national park (Aceh province) and Bukit Barisan Selatan national park (Lampung province).

He said the three parks covered a vast areas about 2 million hectares in average that the tigers would not have food shortage. Sufficient food, Darori said, would avoid the tigers from trying to enter people`s house to look for something to eat.

Previously, the Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said Indonesia which was known as a mega biodiversity country had recently witnessed a shrink in the population of its rare species due to deforestation.

He said the number of Indonesia`s endangered animals such as Sumatran tigers, Javanese rhinoceroses, and orangutans has dwindled because of deforestation activities conducted by the private sector as well as local communities.

The minister said the number of Sumatran tigers which was 800 heads in 2005, now is only around 400, while the Javanese tiger has totally become extinct.

The population of Sumatran elephants, which was 8,000 heads in 2000, now is only 2,000, and rhinoceros, which was about 40-50, is around 60 heads currently.

In order to help preserve the rare species, the forestry ministry has planned to develop 30 million hectares areas into forest conservation ones, according to the minister.

The ministry has also launched primary forests covering 43 million hectares, he said.
"These (primary) forests could not be converted into other purposes and it should be declared moratorium," he said.

Mt. Sinabung continues to spew smoke

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 08/28/2010 3:22 PM

Rising concern: Residents watch Mount Sinabung in the North Sumatra regency of Karo as it spews thick smokes on Saturday. Antara/Irsan Mulyadi

Mount Sinabung in the North Sumatra regency of Karo continued gushing grey smoke on Saturday, blanketing area surrounding its crater.

A local resident, Abadinta Barus, told Antara news agency the smoke was less thick than it was on Friday, when seismic activities of the volcano resulted in thundering noises and stirred panic among residents of nearby villages.

“The density of the smoke has far declined, but the smell of sulfur remains strong,” he said.

The volcano blew up thick smoke and materials for several hours on Friday, but the authorities dismissed any possibility of eruption, which last occurred in the year 1600.

Despite the absence of evacuation order, hundreds of people fled their villages for safety to their relatives’ houses in the neighboring regencies of Kabanjahe and Berastagi.

Dozens of Indonesian Red Cross volunteers and social service agency workers set up on Saturday emergency posts in villages near the volcano. They explained to the local people evacuation procedure if eruption occurred and distributed masks to protect them from respiratory problems.

Friday, August 27, 2010

East Nusa Tenggara Mud Eruptions Contaminate River

Tempo Interactive, Friday, 27 August, 2010 | 18:36 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The mud eruptions in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara that started last June in Sulamu Subdistrict have now contaminated one of the main source of clean water in the region, the Noekiboko River.

Cold mud from the eruption according to head of of Sulamu Subdictrict Scering Dano had swamped into the river, the only source of drink water and irrigation water for Sulamu residents.

Eruptions from eight points in Sulamu Scering said have formed at least two mudlakes about 4 - 6 meters deep, which residents feared would expand and swamped their homes. Some cattle according to Screing have been drowned in the mudlakes.

There were pereviously seven eruption points located in an elevated area within Pantai Beringin Village, which recently became eight as the newest point of eruption emerged on a transregional road connecting the area with Oecusse District. which now disrupting traffic at the particular section.

In July geologists from the State Vulcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center have inspected the area and brought samples of mud to their main lab in Bandung no official report came from the lab to date.


Black rice is the new cancer-fighting superfood, claim scientists

Daily Mail, By DAILY MAIL REPORTERS, 26th August 2010

Black rice - revered in ancient China but overlooked in the West - could be the greatest 'superfoods', scientists revealed today.

The cereal is low in sugar but packed with healthy fibre and plant compounds that combat heart disease and cancer, say experts.

Scientists from Louisiana State University analysed samples of bran from black rice grown in the southern U.S. They found boosted levels of water-soluble anthocyanin antioxidants.

Black rice is low in sugar but packed with healthy fibre and plant compounds that combat heart disease and cancer, according to scientists

Anthocyanins provide the dark colours of many fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and red peppers. They are what makes black rice 'black'.

Research suggests that the dark plant antioxidants, which mop up harmful molecules, can help protect arteries and prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer.

Food scientist Dr Zhimin Xu said: 'Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar, and more fibre and vitamin E antioxidants.

'If berries are used to boost health, why not black rice and black rice bran? Especially, black rice bran would be a unique and economical material to increase consumption of health-promoting antioxidants.'

Centuries ago black rice was known as 'Forbidden Rice' in ancient China because only nobles were allowed to eat it.

Today black rice is mainly used in Asia for food decoration, noodles, sushi and desserts.

But food manufacturers could potentially use black rice bran or bran extracts to make breakfast cereals, beverages, cakes, biscuits and other foods healthier, said Dr Xu.

When rice is processed, millers remove the outer layers of the grains to produce brown rice or more refined white rice - the kind most widely consumed in the West.

Brown rice is said to be more nutritious because it has higher levels of healthy vitamin E compounds and antioxidants.

But according to Dr Xu's team, varieties of rice that are black or purple in colour are healthier still.

They added that black rice could also be used to provide healthier, natural colourants. Studies linked some artificial colourants to cancer and behavioural problems in children.

The scientists presented their findings today at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.

Victoria Taylor, senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'In reality, it's unlikely there's a single food out there that will have a great impact on lowering your risk of heart disease. Healthy eating is about a balanced diet overall.

'It's great if you can eat more of some groups of healthy foods, like having five portions of fruit and veg a day, but there is still no conclusive evidence that 'super foods' alone make a real difference to your heart health.'

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mercury found at old Exxon site

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 08/26/2010 9:37 AM

An investigation by the Environment Ministry has found that soil at former workshop and warehouse facility of ExxonMobil in Hueng village in North Aceh allegedly contains mercury, a highly toxic metal.

The field investigation was conducted from Aug. 18 to 20 with four samples of soil taken from the area of measuring 15x17.8 square meters.

“The mercury could be seen in the field,” Imam Hendargo Ismoyo, deputy minister of the hazardous waste at the Environment Ministry said on Wednesday.

He said some parts of the soil was infused with the metal as deep as 60 centimeters when the ministry’s officials dig it up.

The ministry said it would bring samples to its laboratory to confirm the finding before taking any legal action.

Officials from Environment Ministry and ExxonMobil Indonesia were slated to meet on Thursday to clarify the findings.

Vice president of public affair of ExxonMobil Indonesia, Maman Budiman, denied the mercury originated from its gas operation in Aceh.

“The area is used as a heavy equipment workshop housing tractors, while there is also a clinic built in the area,” he said on Wednesday.

“There is no production of mercury in the area.”

He said the management of ExxonMobil would provide data, including management on mercury to ministry office on Thursday.

“If the ministry finds soil contaminated with mercury, we are ready to discuss it with the ministry and crosscheck the findings,” he said.

The ExxonMobil team will be headed by the company’s safety health and environment manager.

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) said most people and animals poisoned by mercury did so by inhaling the metal in fumes emitted by industrial processes and coal-fired power stations, or by ingesting mercury in food.

Mercury may be released into the air when coal, oil, or wood are burned as fuel or when mercury heavy waste is incinerated.

Resulting mercury concentrations in outdoor air are usually low and of little direct concern.

However, mercury in the air can fall to the ground with rain, landing on soil or in bodies of water, causing contamination.

Lakes and rivers are also contaminated when there is a direct discharge of mercury-laden industrial waste into the water.

The ministry earlier said Indonesia was susceptible to mercury poisoning.

Indonesia imported 9 tons of mercury in 2009, primarily for use in dental clinics and small mining operations. Many Indonesian dentists still use mercury-based amalgam to fill cavities.

Indonesian government has announced plans to meet international standards currently being developed that would outlaw the use and production of mercury.

Related Article:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Indonesia Project Boosts Global Forest CO2 Market

The Jakarta Post, David Fogarty and Sunanda Creagh | August 24, 2010

Forests soak up large amounts of carbon dioxide and scientists say curbing deforestation is a key way to fight climate change. (Bloomberg Photo/Dimas Ardian)

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Jakarta. An Indonesian project aimed at saving a vast tract of rainforest has passed a milestone seen as a boost in the development of a global market in forest carbon credits.

That market under the UN-backed scheme Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, also known as REDD, could eventually be worth billions of dollars annually and is central to the goal of driving private sector involvement in forest protection.

The Rimba Raya conservation project covers nearly 100,000 ha (250,000 acres) of carbon-rich peat swamp forest in the province of Central Kalimantan.

Forests soak up large amounts of carbon dioxide and scientists say curbing deforestation is a key way to fight climate change.

The project has earned the first-ever approval of an accounting method for measuring the reduction in carbon emissions under REDD and is being developed by InfiniteEARTH, with funding from Shell, Gazprom Market and Trading and the Clinton Foundation.

The Voluntary Carbon Standard programme, also known as VCS, approved the methodology after it passed a mandated double auditing process.

The project itself is now undergoing third-party validation and is likely to become the world’s first VCS-approved REDD project later this year, Gazprom and InfiniteEARTH say.

The step is a boost for other REDD projects and investors wanting certainty on the quality of REDD carbon credits. There are several dozen REDD projects globally, including more than a dozen in Indonesia at various stages of development.

“This is seen as a landmark moment for the carbon market,” Gazprom said in a statement. “Historically REDD projects have suffered due to their exclusion from the Kyoto Protocol,” it said, as well as the absence of a recognised global standard.

The project is expected to reduce 18.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted in the first 10 years and up to 75 million tonnes in the 30-year life of the project.

At about $10 a credit, that means about $750 million over 30 years.

The future sale of carbon offsets from the project will help boost the livelihoods of more than 11,000 people in the area and save rare species including orang-utans and other primates, the statement says.

REDD aims to reward developing countries that save, protect and rehabilitate forests through large-scale projects.

Poorer nations and local forest communities are meant to take a major share of the sale of the carbon credits to rich nations, which can use them to meet mandated emission reduction targets.

REDD is not yet formally part of a broader UN climate pact and potential buyers of the credits have been waiting for an approved global standard for forest CO2 credits to ensure the reductions are real and verifiable.

“The methodology was designed for conservation projects that avoid planned land-use conversion in tropical peat swamp forests in Southeast Asia,” the statement said.

The project itself borders Tanjung Puting national park and the area has been under growing threat from encroaching palm oil plantations.

“It shows small-scale REDD can be done. This is also demonstrating the ability of project-based activities, that they can do that,” said Daniel Murdiyarso, senior scientist at the Centre for International Forestry Research.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hidden danger

The Jakarta Post, Purbalingga, Central Java | Mon, 08/23/2010 2:25 PM

A numher of sand miners in Klawing river, Purbalingga, Central Java quarry sand on Monday in the river despite the local government ban. Their activities pose a danger to a nearby bridge linking several cities in the province.(JP/Agus Maryono)

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Indonesian Police Kill Rare Javan Leopard

Jakarta Globe, August 22, 2010

Jakarta. A rare Javan leopard was shot dead by police after it strayed into a village in Indonesia, police said on Sunday.

An Indonesian policeman crouches to inspect
the body of a Javan leopard after it was shot dead
by police in a village near Sukabumi, West Java,
on Sunday. (AFP Photo)
Police killed the animal on Saturday after it entered the village near Sukabumi city in West Java province, local police official Ardiansyah said.

"The black leopard made the villagers very anxious. They chased it and it ran towards a police school. Police shot it when it entered one of the classrooms," he said.

Conflict between humans and animals are a rising problem in the massive archipelago nation with some of the world's largest remaining tropical forests, as human settlements encroach on natural habitats.

Conservation official Didi Wuryanto said police should have sought the help of forestry officials to trap the animal and return it to its habitat in Gunung Gede Pangrango national park instead of killing it.

"The leopard might have been lost while chasing its prey or its habitat was disturbed by deforestation," he said.

"There's been no record of the Javan leopard biting humans so it's a pity that it was shot when it could have been saved and released into the forest."

The Javan leopard, which is found only on the country's Java island, is listed as critically endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) "Red List" of threatened species.

The number of mature Javan leopards, which are skilful tree climbers, is "certainly less than 250", the IUCN said on its Web site.

Agence France-Presse

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Indonesian Executives Held Over Illegal Logging

Jakarta Globe, Farouk Arnaz | August 20, 2010

Jakarta. Three logging company executives and a forestry department official are among 10 people arrested and charged with illegal logging.

“All 10 were last week named suspects for using fake documents to carry out logging in Sorong [in Papua],” National Police special crimes director Brig. Gen. Suhardi Alius told the Jakarta Globe on Friday.

The three executives, Hari Rahman, Yuwono and Subagyo, have since been transferred to National Police custody in Jakarta, while the rest remain in the custody of the Papua Police.

“We don’t have the names of these seven others yet, but we can confirm it includes a Sorong Forestry Department officer,” Suhardi said.

He said the three executives had been transferred to Jakarta because they were the “key suspects” in the case.

“We want to ensure they face the full extent of the law,” he said. “We’ll let the Papuan authorities deal with the rest.”

The three executives are from logging firms Diah Diani and Hasrat, from which police have seized more than 7,000 cubic meters of merbau logs.

The shipment was seized in Semarang, Central Java, to where it had been sent from Sorong on the way to markets in China and Taiwan.

The rare wood is particularly sought after by consumers in China, which is the world’s biggest importer of merbau, as well as in the United States and Europe, where it is widely used for flooring and furniture, mostly because of its very durable and termite-resistant characteristics.

Most of the merbau trees in Indonesia are in Papua, where large tracts of virgin forest remain unexploited, unlike in the more developed provinces of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

However, with loggers having exhausted the western forests, many are now turning their attention to Papua’s trees, resulting in the province losing a quarter of its forests over the past 12 years.

The tree is categorized as vulnerable to extinction by the Red List of Threatened Species published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the leading authority on conservation status.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Indonesia Palm Oil Giant Defends Environmental Record — Again

Jakarta Globe, August 20, 2010

Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (SMART) has again claimed that it is innocent of illegal deforestation after British auditors complained that elements of an independent probe that SMART commissioned to verify the legality of its activities had been misrepresented to the public. (AFP Photo)

Related articles

Jakarta. Indonesia’s biggest palm oil producer on Friday rejected fresh allegations of illegal forest clearing after foreign auditors suggested it had misrepresented the findings of an independent investigation.

Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (SMART), part of the Sinar Mas group, has been struggling to repair its image after a Greenpeace name-and-shame campaign led several foreign buyers to cancel major contracts.

Its credibility took another blow Thursday when British auditors the BSI Group complained that elements of an independent probe which SMART commissioned to verify the legality of its activities had been misrepresented to the public.

SMART had trumpeted the auditors’ report as evidence that Greenpeace’s allegations were false, but BSI said the probe’s “key findings” included that the company had violated Indonesian law on forest management.

It also found that the company had launched operations on almost 38,000 hectares (94,000 acres) of land on Borneo before mandatory environmental studies had been completed.
The company was also found to have planted palm oil crops in high-value deep peatland, but not to the extent claimed by Greenpeace.

SMART president director Daud Dharsono rejected any suggestion it was trying to dodge the findings of its own audit or mislead shareholders.

“We’ve always emphasised that the independent verification exercise report be shared in an open and transparent manner and that is exactly what we have done,” Dharsono said, adding it was published in full on the firm’s Web site.

“Palm oil is a strategic economic product for the alleviation of poverty in Indonesia. We care for our people, the environment and all biodiversity including the important orangutan.”

Peat forests are massive stores of carbon and their destruction for timber or agriculture is a major contributor to emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

Indonesia is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, used in everything from soap to cosmetics.

Agence France-Presse

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

National scene: Herbal medicine market expanding, researcher says

The Jakarta Post | Thu, 08/19/2010 8:25 AM | National

YOGYAKARTA: The herbal medicine market has been expanding every year with Rp 6 trillion estimated for this year’s domestic sales, a researcher from Gadjah Mada University’s Pharmacology Department said.

“The domestic market of herbal products grew from Rp 1 trillion [US$111 million] in 2000 to Rp 2 trillion in 2002. It has grown steadily and this year the market is estimated to see Rp 6 trillion,” Mae Sri Hartati Wahyuningsih said Wednesday.

She said chemical drugs could not replace herbal medicines so the consumption of herbal medicine increased every year. “Indonesians have known the benefits of various plants for health treatment ingredients, curative substances or beauty,” she said as quoted by Antara.

She said many businesspeople saw it as opportunity for investment. Many herbal medicine producers are home industries but several have produced herbal ingredients on a large scale distributing them nationwide even outside the country.

“Using herbal medicines is common practice for Indonesians and many have experienced benefits,” she said. “There are an estimated 30,000 species of plants in Indonesia and about 9,600 could be used for medicine. From that number, only 300 are used as ingredients.” — JP

Saturday, August 14, 2010

All animals at Indonesian zoo in danger

The Jakarta Post, Associated Press, Jakarta | Sat, 08/14/2010 2:54 PM | Headlines

Health check: In this file photo veterinarians examine a female Sumatran tiger at a rehabilitation center at a zoo in Jambi in July, 2009. -- AP

The animals at Indonesia's largest zoo - many of them critically endangered - all could be dead within five years unless strong action is taken to change the culture of neglect and corruption that permeates the facility, a zoo official said Saturday.

Hundreds of animals die every year at the Surabaya Zoo, and others suffer from hunger, stress and overcrowding, according to Tonny Sumampouw, the chairman of the country's zoo association who has been tasked with overseeing the facility after the government took it over earlier this year.

Sumampouw said the 94-year-old facility, built under Dutch colonial rule on a 37-acre (15-hectare) plot of land that currently holds 4,200 animals, has tallied 300 deaths a year over the past decade, including dozens of Komodo dragons, jaguars, bisons and Bali starlings.

In recent days alone, a17-year-old African lion and 6-year-old Australian kangaroo died, he said. Also at great risk are 14 rare Sumatran tigers being kept in dirty, cramped cages and 20 Komodo babies in intensive care.

Sumampouw, who is running the zoo as a caretaker until a new director is named, blamed bad management and corruption for the problems.

"My assumption is that all those animals will definitely disappear in the next five years unless there are efforts to reorganize how the zoo is managed," Sumampouw said.

Many employees have been caught stealing meat intended for the animals and sometimes, in the case of rare species, stealing the animals themselves, he said.

He said fixing the problems "will be a big challenge" for the new boss.

A spokesman for the zoo's old management team, Agus Supangkat, said while an average of 25 animals die at the facility every month, most succumb to old age or other natural causes. He said the animals are properly fed and cared for and that hygiene is well-maintained, but acknowledged that some animals die from stress, especially the big cats.

"This zoo is very old and its cages outdated," he said. "They are like prison cells, putting stress especially on the big mammals."

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Friday, August 13, 2010

West Java prone to more quakes

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung | Fri, 08/13/2010 9:57 AM

Scientists warned Thursday of rising seismic activity in southern areas of Java, mainly south of West Java, urging residents to remain alert.

A 5.8-magnitude quake struck Thursday morning and was centered 145 kilometers northwest of the West Java town of Sukabumi at a depth of 10 meters below sea level.

There were no reports of casualties and damage but the tremor was felt in Bandung, Garut, Tasikmalaya and even Jakarta, located about 200 kilometers away.

“I wondered why my bed was shaking vigorously,” said North Bandung resident Linda Damajanti Sukmana on Thursday. “Then I realized it’s a quake.”

People living in Sukabumi coastal area rushed out of their houses when the quake hit, Najmudin Aziz, Cipatujah subdistrict head Najmudin Aziz told Antara, adding the quake did not cause any damage or injuries.

Geologist Danny Hilman Natawijaya of the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) urged residents to remain alert, saying there would be continual tremors along the Indo-Australian-Eurasian fault line, which stretches from Andaman Island to Sumatra, the southern part of Java and Maluku.

He said southern Java was included in the “seismic gap”, or quiet path, because based on historical records, no massive quake measuring more than 8 magnitudes had occurred in the area over the past 30 years.

However, experts have begun paying attention to potential earthquakes and tsunamis in South Java after a 6.8-magnitude quake-triggered tsunami struck and killed more than 130 residents along south Java coast, especially in West Java, on July 17, 2006.

”We must stay alert as the southern part of Java is part of the subduction zone, despite no records of quakes measuring more than 8 magnitudes there. The potential of a massive quake is always there,” Danny told The Jakarta Post in Bandung on Thursday.

Bandung BMG geophysics observation staff member, Pepen Supendi, said that after the 2006 tsunami, a massive quake jolted West Java again on Sept. 2, 2009, killing at least 30 people, destroying hundreds of homes and displacing more than 1,000 people.

Six earthquakes, measuring greater than 5 magnitudes occurred again after the 2009 quake, including the 6.3-magnitude quake in June this year, which reportedly destroyed dozens of homes in Salopa, south of Tasikmalaya.

“The process of the shift and meeting of the Indo-Australian-Eurasian plates has apparently occurred in the southern part of Java so the possibility of quakes is imminent.

During the shift, they gather energy, and if rocks are unable to withstand the energy, a quake occurs,” said Pepen.

Danny urged the provincial administration to pay serious attention to disaster mitigation efforts since many residents were not involved in disaster mitigation drills, which were conducted more frequently in other regions such as Sumatra.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

It’s time for civet coffee for Lampung farmers

Oyos Saroso H.N., The Jakarta Post, Bandarlampung | Thu, 08/12/2010 8:52 AM

Cashing in on the rising popularity of civet coffee is hard for coffee farmers in West Lampung regency, Lampung, to resist.

Farmer Wahyu Anggoro in Way Mengaku district said 1 kilogram of luwak or civet coffee beans could fetch between Rp 250,000 [US$28] and Rp 750,000, while regular dried coffee beans were sold at Rp 15,000 a kilogram. “One kilogram of ground civet coffee could fetch up to Rp 1 million,” said Wahyu.

Civet coffee is made from hard beans eaten by nocturnal animals, which then ferment in their stomachs before they are excreted with their shape intact. After being gathered, washed, sun dried, light roasted and brewed, the coffee is highly prized for its smooth flavor and non-bitter aftertaste, earning it the reputation of the world’s most expensive coffee.

The Indonesian Ulemas Council recently considered declaring the coffee haram but asserted it could be consumed (halal) if farmers cleaned the beans before they are ground.

Droppings used to be eagerly collected by farmers, believing the civet only picked and ate the finest coffee berries. Now the coffee is mostly produced by farmers.

In West Lampung, mainly in Belalau and Balikbukit districts, in recent years the coffee has been marketed locally and overseas, mostly to Korea and Taiwan.

Farmers raise between four to dozens of civets, feeding them with ripe coffee beans freshly picked from the farm. There are 10 luwak coffee trading groups in West Lampung, each able to sell up to more than 7 tons of coffee monthly.

“Traders from Thailand have come especially to buy luwak coffee. Traders usually sell it at higher prices of up to Rp 1 million per kilogram to visitors.,” Wahyu said.

Wahyu said traders should keep updated, such as determining the latest price of civet coffee on the global market, learning how to boost production and improve quality.

“In Lampung, luwak coffee is cheap, but not overseas. That’s why its production is very promising,” Governor Sjachroedin said. A cup of the coffee costs Rp 20,000 in a Bandarlampung hotel and only Rp 10,000 in the city’s cafes.

“We will help coffee farmers to process and package civet coffee, and help its marketing.”