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)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Indonesia’s Coffee Bean-Excreting Civet Cats a Distinct Species: Scientists

Jakarta Globe, September 30, 2010

Instead of one species, until now known as Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, there should be three, according to molecular biologists at the Museum of National History in Paris.

French molecular biologists say Indonesia's famed
civet is one of three species. (Reuters Photo)
The species have developed separately in different habitats — northeastern India; Southeast Asia, including Indonesia; and parts of Borneo and the Philippines.

Tree-loving and fruit-eating, palm civets are arguably best known for a smooth-tasting Indonesian coffee known as Kopi Luwak.

Its beans come from the ripest fruits eaten by the civet, which are claimed to pass through its digestive tract unscathed, enhanced by enzymes.

Retrieved from the faeces, the beans are roasted before being sold for up to 500 dollars per kilogram. Only 200 kilos of the coffee are produced each year.

Agence France-Presse

Indonesia cancels tsunami alert after major quake

Google/AFP, - Sep 30, 2010

JAKARTA — Indonesia on Thursday cancelled a tsunami alert issued after a major quake struck off West Papua, the national geophysics agency said.

The Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency measured the earthquake at 7.4 while the US Geological Survey recorded two closely spaced quakes measuring 6.2 and 7.2.

"The tsunami alert has been lifted and also the quake had no potential for destruction but it was felt in several areas," agency technical head Suharjono told AFP, adding that strong aftershocks followed.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties in the remote area.

USGS said the first 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Papua in eastern Indonesia, revising down its initial magnitude of 6.6.

The quake was centred 114 kilometres (71 miles) north-northwest of Dobo in the Kepulauan Aru islands off the southwest of Papua. It hit at 2:10 am (1710 GMT Wednesday) at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres and was followed a minute later by a stronger 7.2 quake, USGS said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no warnings were in effect following the quakes in the remote area located between the island of New Guinea and northern Australia.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "ring of fire", where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity, and the archipelago is frequently struck by powerful earthquakes.

A 7.1-magnitude quake off the north coast of Papua in June killed 17 people and left thousands homeless.

The 2004 Asian tsunami -- triggered by a 9.3-magnitude quake off Sumatra -- killed at least 168,000 people in Indonesia alone.

A 7.6-magnitude quake killed about 1,000 people in the port of Padang, western Sumatra, on September 30 last year.

Related Article:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I've heard of pink elephants, but this is ridiculous: Amazing images of rare pink hippopotamus captured in Masai Mara

Daily Mail, By DAILY MAIL REPORTER, 28th September 2010

Wading through the muddy waters this rare pink-o-pottamus stands out from the crowd.

British brothers and wildlife photographers Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas captured these images of the brightly coloured hippo in the Masai Mara, Kenya, last week.

Visiting the African country on the hunt to photograph the legendary wildebeest migration the Londoners were in for a treat when rumours of a pink hippo surfaced.

Pink to make the boys wink: The rare pink hippopotamus
was spotted last week in the Masai Mara in Africa

'Our guide had mentioned that he had heard rumours of this rare hippo from a fellow guide, however, he was not told where it lived and he had never come across it before,' explains 26-year-old Will.

'After a rather uneventful morning, we stopped on the banks of the Mara River for a picnic breakfast.
'After a while, to our great surprise, we spotted the pink hippo emerge on to the far bank of the river.

'We dropped everything and reached for our cameras!'

Racing up to a bank on the river, the brothers positioned themselves a few hundred yards from the young hippo, so not to disturb it.

'It was a young one as it is much smaller than the other hippos and always stayed close to its mother,' said Will.

'It was nice to see the other hippos treated it no differently to any other.

'The pink hippo seemed perfectly happy as it bumbled around on the shore and other than its skin, was no different to any other hippo.

'It was out on the shore for 10 minutes or less. After that we spotted his pink head surface above the water every few minutes as he came up for air.

'It was also very shy and after spotting us it hid behind its mother before disappearing into the water.'

Pretty in pink: Brothers Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas stumbled
across this rare pink hippopotamus in Kenya

Rare: The pink hippo is 'leucistic' - a condition characterised
by reduced pigmentation in animals and humans

Excited by their discovery the brothers returned to the UK this week, eager to find out more about the rare hippo.

Will continued: 'On returning to the UK I have spent a morning researching the condition in order to find out how rare this creature really is and what caused the extraordinary coloration.

'I found just a handful of recorded instances of pink hippos in Uganda but never in the Mara.

'It turns out the hippo is "leucistic" [a condition characterised by reduced pigmentation in animals and humans], and not an albino since it does have some pigmented spots and dark eyes.

'Usually leucistic and albino animals do not survive in the wild as they are very visible to predators and they get serious sunburn.

'However, once hippos are large enough they are rarely attacked by predators, and uniquely, their sweat acts as a sunscreen which means a pink hippo can survive perfectly well in the wild!'

For Will though, the encounter proved how wildlife can continue to surprise and amaze.

Shy guy: As soon as the hippo notices the brothers snapping
away on their cameras, he hides in the water behind his

Camera crew: The Burrard-Lucas brothers shown on
the other side of the lens for once

'It was very exciting, particularly in Africa, where it seems that every animal has been photographed to death,' he added.

'As we were taking the pictures were not sure if anyone else had already photographed the animal or how rare a pink hippo really is, so it wasn't until we got back to the UK and did some research that we realised how special our pictures really were.

'This was obviously a unique encounter but it never ceases to amaze me how often wildlife surprises us... no matter how much time we spend photographing animals.

'When we are out in the field there is seldom a day that goes by where we don't observe some surprising aspect of behaviour or a unique individual that we have never come across before.

'Ultimately this is one reason why we find watching and photographing wildlife so fulfilling.'

For more information on Will and Matt's work visit:

The baby elephant seems to be sheltering under its mother
to protect itself from the sun

Related Article:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

General Mills against Indonesia Company Blamed for Forest Destruction

Kompas, AFP, Jumat, 24 September 2010 | 20:10 WIB

An aerial photograph shows cleared forests for a palm oil concession area in Ketapang district on July 5, 2010 in West Kalimantan. Scientists said rapid deforestation and rampant illegal logging is the main reason Indonesia is the worlds third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for man-made global warming. Sinar Mas--Indonesias biggest palm oil firm is awaiting independent audit of its practices by the Netherlands-based Control Union Certification and British Standard institute, the results of which are expected in July. Food giant Nestle said it will resume buying palm oil from Indonesian giant Sinar Mas if the audit clears the Jakarta-based of claims it is devastating rainforest. Nestle dropped Sinar Mas -- as a supplier in March following protests by environmental group Greenpeace, after Anglo-Dutch company Unilever also severed ties this year. (AFP)

JAKARTA, — Environmentalists on Friday praised a decision by U.S. food-maker General Mills to stop buying palm oil from companies accused of rain forest destruction — the latest in a string of multinationals to announce policy reversals.

The Minnesota-based maker of popular brands like Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Hamburger Helper said this week it would try to procure all of its palm oil from “responsible and sustainable sources” by 2015.

“We are concerned about the role of palm oil expansion in the deforestation of the world’s rain forests,” the company announced on its website. Indonesia and neighboring Malaysia are the two largest producers of palm oil, used for everything from frying food to making cosmetics, candy and — when mixed with diesel — cleaner burning fuel for cars.

In recent years, advocacy groups in the United States and Europe have warned that the rapidly growing industry is destroying large tracts of forests and encroaching on the habitats of orangutans and other endangered species.

Rainforest Action Network, an environmental group that has been pushing for change, applauded General Mills’ decision, saying it hoped it would “serve as a wake-up call for others in the food industry.”

Already, U.S. companies Kraft Foods and Burger King have announced similar shifts in policy. Barry Furqon, who heads the local environmental group, Walhi, said growing awareness by multinationals about the negative impact of the palm oil industry was “a slap in the face of the government.”

“International consumers are expressing concern about the protection of our environment,” he said. “But the government could care less.”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

RI, China ink agreement on forestry

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Beijing | Sat, 09/25/2010 10:45 AM

Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkilfli Hasan said the Indonesian government wanted closer cooperation with China to develop forest management, particularly in the use of bamboo and rattan.

“China has been widely known for its success in developing sustainable forest management. Its research and development division, in particular, is known for its success in developing the quality of non-timber products, such as bamboo and rattan,” Zulkifli said during a three-day visit to China recently.

“They know how to produce fine quality paper from bamboo while back home our capacity to use [bamboo and rattan] is still quite limited.”

Hadi Daryanto, director general for Production Forest Management said China had marketing ability.

“Their lamination technique is renowned and we should learn about it to add to the quality of our timber and non-timber products,” he said.

During the visit, the forestry ministry signed a five year agreement on forest management knowledge sharing. The China State Forestry Administration in Beijing was represented by Vice Minister Madame Yin Hong.

It was agreed to encourage the use of wood and non-wood products processing technology as well as biomass energy from sustainably managed forests. Also to carry out information exchange on forest land rehabilitation and social forestry.

The agreement also covered cooperation on wildlife and plant protection and the sustainable use of flora and fauna. Both sides agreed to promote forestry law enforcement and sustainable forest management and research.

Hadi said even before the agreement, China had assisted the Forestry Minister office, especially to promote legal timber trading.

“China’s authorities have warned the forestry ministry several times regarding illegal logging activities in the Papua region. Thus we have developed mutual cooperation long before this agreement,” he said.

The Indonesian Ambassador to China, Imron Cotan, said it was very strategic for Indonesia to work
with China to promote sustainable forest management because China was one of the world’s leaders in this field.

“With US$2.55 trillion of [Gross National Product] China has become recognized as one of the world’s new leaders. From the political perspective, there can be no major international problems discussed from now on without China,” he said.

China has 1.25 million square kilometers of forested areas equivalent to 75 percent of Indonesia’s total and area. China therefore has one of the world’s largest forest areas.

China’s administration has developed environmentally friendly economic activities in or adjacent to forest areas in the form of community forest programs. Through these programs, people get to lease land from the state for 30 to 35 years. They can plant trees and gain profits from forestry products.

The Chinese government said that with such programs there was an increase in the volume of lands planted with trees by local people.

Bilateral cooperation between both administrations on forestry development was initiated in 1992 following the signing of agreements on forest resources management and conservation as well as research, training and extension work.

Sinar Mas hopes to show public it “cares” about environment

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Beijing | Sat, 09/25/2010 10:47 AM

The Forestry Ministry is joining forces with private companies to support the government’s forest preservation program as it strives to achieve Indonesia’s pledge to reduce its emissions by 26 percent by 2020.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan recently signed a memorandum of understanding with PT Putra Riau Perkasa, a subsidiary of Sinar Mas Forestry, which agreed to spare its 15,640-hectare concession in Semenanjung Kampar, Riau, for a giant carbon storage facility.

“Twelve large companies have promised to set aside forest concessions as carbon storage areas.

“This should prove that large companies are concerned about preserving forests,” Zulkifli said at the signing of the MoU at the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing.

“However, I must warn that none of this will reduce the office’s critical stance toward these companies in running businesses,” he said.

The agreement was signed regardless of gray areas in the REDD+ benefit-sharing scheme, which regulates carbon trade.

Sinar Mas Forestry environment director Canecio P Munoz, who also attended the signing, said besides the Semenanjung Kampar forest area, the company had also dedicated another 700 hectares of land under the Bukit Batu biosphere reserve program.

“The forest preservation program will enable us to respond to several third parties’ doubts about our commitments to preserving nature while running our business,” he said.

Sinar Mas Forestry has come under public scrutiny after several environmental NGOs including Greenpeace suggested it had accommodated illegal practices in its business, including clearing peatlands and secondary forests dedicated for wildlife preservation to make way for oil palm plantations.

As a result, several multinational companies including Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Hut and Burger King, recently cancelled their business contracts with Sinar Mas.

Minister Zulkifli added that his office was in the middle of organizing a joint committee comprising the office, private entities, academicians and NGOs.

This joint committee would be tasked primarily to monitor work carried out in forests, he said.

“Whenever we face problems and difficulties regarding forest management, there will be no need to attract the attention of the international community any more. We will resolve these issues through this committee,” he said.

Besides signing the MoU, Minister Zulkifli also met with the Sino-Forest company officials in Shanghai to discuss the company’s investment plans.

“Sino-Forest plans to develop jatropha bio fuel because it has already mastered the technology to produce three times more jatropha oil than we could produce in the past,” Zulkifli said.

Sino Forest’ founder Allen Chen said Indonesia had been chosen as the company’s investment target because of its promising reforms in forestry regulation.

“We have received business intelligence reports that Indonesia is quite ideal for conducting business,” Allen said.

Sino Forest Corporation is among several giant Chinese companies operating in the forestry industry. It manages 650,000 hectares of the 750,000 hectares of forest concession provided by the Chinese administration.

Related Article:

Two New Species of Orchid Found in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, Ismira Lutfia  | September 24, 2010         

Jakarta. Indonesia’s abundant biodiversity has once again been highlighted with the discovery of two new species of orchid in Kalimantan.

Dendrobium flos-wanua, pictured, and Dendrobium dianae
 are the latest orchids to be discovered in the archipelago’s
diverse  ecosystem. Up to 40 percent of the country’s flora is
said to remain  undocumented. (Photo courtesy of LIPI)
An article on the new orchids belonging to the Dendrobium calcariferum section was published in the September edition of Malesian Orchid Journal by Destario Metusala, from the Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Peter O’Byrne, an orchid expert from Singapore, and J.J. Wood, a researcher from England’s Kew Botanical Garden, a LIPI statement said.

Destario researched in Kalimantan while O’Byrne and Wood were working in the Malaysian state of Sarawak.

Dendrobium flos-wanua was named after Vincent Wanua, an orchid enthusiast from Malang, East Java, who contributed to the research. The species is yellowish green in color with squarish petals and two to eight flowers bloom in a single inflorescence.

Dendrobium dianae was named in honor of Dian Rachmawaty, an orchid conservationist. It has plain pale green to shiny deep yellow coloration with red stripes on its sepals and petals and from four to 12 flowers appear in a single inflorescence.

Destario, who is also a botanical researcher based at the Purwodadi Botanical Garden in East Java, said Dendrobium dianae’s uniqueness lay in its variety of colors, something rare for the calcarifera section.

“We discovered that there are at least five color variations of this species and their colors could vary widely,” he told the Jakarta Globe.

He also said that they found more members of the Dendrobium calcariferum section on the island than originally believed. The species were thought to be concentrated on the western part of Indonesia, mainly in Sumatra.

Kuswata Kartawinata, an expert on plant ecology at LIPI, has said that based on the geographical aspect, Indonesia is part of a “coherent floristic region” called Malesia, consisting of Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Timor Leste, whose vegetation is distinct from the surrounding regions within Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Australia.

Of the estimated 40,000 species of Malesian plants, Kuswata said, 30,000 grew in Indonesia. “This is equal to roughly 10 percent of the world’s flora,” he said. 

However, he added that only 60 percent of the country’s native flowering plants have been systematically recorded.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Indonesia's Sinar Mas Censured by Palm Oil Watchdog

Jakarta Globe, September 23, 2010

Sinar Mas has come under attack by Greenpeace who are campaigning against further expansion of forest industry and palm oil plantations in prime forest and peatlands that stores massive amount of carbon deposits. Palm oil industry watchdog, The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, said on its Web site its grievance panel had written to SMART and Golden Agri censuring the firms for the breaches uncovered by an audit. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

Jakarta. An industry body for sustainable palm oil has made its first public censure of a member, saying Indonesia’s Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology breached its principles and may face sanctions.

Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology, also known as SMART, last month released an independent audit after Greenpeace alleged SMART bulldozed high conservation value forests and damaged carbon-rich peatlands.

The audit gave SMART a mixed score card, highlighting some instances in which Indonesia’s environmental laws were breached.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, also known as RSPO, — an industry body of planters, green groups and consumers — said on its Web site its grievance panel had written to SMART and Golden Agri censuring the firms for the breaches uncovered by the audit.

SMART is a member of the RSPO but Golden Agri-Resources is not.

“In its letter to SMART and GAR, the panel finds there has been serious non-compliance with the RSPO code of conduct, specifically a failure by SMART to work towards implementation and certification of the RSPO principles and criteria,” it said.

In particular, RSPO principles on social and environmental impact assessments and peatland management have been infringed, it said.

“Members who have been found to not be in compliance and who continue to be in non-compliance with the RSPO regulations could ultimately face sanctions, including the suspension and, eventually, the termination, of their membership of the RSPO.”

The comments may be a blow to SMART’s aims to win back big palm oil buyers including Burger King, Nestle and Unilever, who have said they will stop buying from SMART because of environmental concerns.

The RSPO also urged GAR to stop publicly suggesting it was in the process of obtaining RSPO certification.

“GAR is not a member of the RSPO, nor has the RSPO yet received a membership application from the company. The Panel encourages GAR to submit a full and complete application for membership,” the statement said.

SMART said in a statement it would work toward the requirements set by the RSPO, including environmental impact assessments and conservation of deep peatlands.

Enormous amounts of climate-warming gases are released when deep peatlands are disturbed, and the deforestation of Indonesia’s extensive tropical forests led the World Bank to name it the world’s number three emitter in a 2007 report.

“We take the feedback of our stakeholders very seriously and this applies to the concerns of the RSPO, whom we are in touch with,” said Daud Dharsono, President Director of SMART.

Golden Agri referred queries to the SMART statement. SMART and Singapore-listed Golden Agri are controlled by the Widjaja family that founded Sinar Mas, a group with interests from plantations to property and finance.

Greenpeace welcomed the RSPO’s statement, saying RSPO should follow up on its reprimand by expelling SMART within four weeks if the company does not take action.

“Greenpeace is calling on other companies, like Cargill, to follow Unilever, Nestle and Kraft’s lead and cancel its palm oil contracts with Sinar Mas until it stops destroying rainforest and carbon rich peatlands,” said Greenpeace activist Bustar Maitar.


End of deal: A Burger King franchise is seen on Sept. 2, 2010, in Los Angeles. The US hamburger chain has said it will stop buying palm oil from an Indonesian company accused of destroying rainforests. – AP/Damian Dovarganes

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Pest-Eating Indonesian Toads Save Cocoa Supply

Jakarta Globe, September 20, 2010

Goettingen, Germany. The world’s supply of chocolate depends partly on hard work by toads in Indonesia, a group of German and Australian agriculture scientists have discovered.

The toads like to dine on an invasive pest, the yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes). The non-native ants, each about 4 mm long, have overrun Indonesian cocoa plantations, driving out good ants that help protect the cocoa plants from disease.

Farmers will now be trained to encourage the bulgy-eyed Sulawesian toad (Ingerophrynus celebensis), an Indonesian native, to eat the ants and bring the ecosystem back into balance. Indonesia is the world’s third-largest exporter of cocoa.

A team from the universities of Goettingen in Germany and Adelaide in Australia have just published the finding in the British Royal Society’s journal Proceedings. They discovered that the toads are free pest-control workers because they love to eat yellow crazy ants.

Teja Tscharntke, a German scientist, said Sunday the discovery of the ecological value of the toads was good news, because populations of amphibians have been plunging worldwide as rain forests disappear.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Whirlwind damages 568 houses in Bandung district

Antara News, Sunday, September 19, 2010 17:56 WIB

Bandung, W Java, (ANTARA News) - Strong whirlwind that hit five hamlets of Jelekong village, Baleendah sub-district, Bandung district, West Java, on Friday, damaged 568 houses, authorities said.

The natural disaster seriously affected the lives of 2,372 residents and the Bandung district government had distributed humanitarian aids and provided the victims with medication.

Head of Jelekong village Deden Nur Ramdani said here Saturday that his men had received the district government`s humanitarian packages to be distributed to the victims.

Among the damaged houses, four were almost destroyed and 28 others got medium damages.

Ramdani said 20 kilograms of rice and 20 boxes of instant noodle were received from the Bandung district government`s social welfare office.

However, his people did need construction materials for fixing their damaged houses, he said.

In connection with this need, he said he had asked the related authorities to provide the victims with construction materials, such as cement, sand, woods, and bricks, so that they could soon fix their houses.

Along with the sub-district government`s officials, his men had assessed the material losses that the victims had suffered and real condition of their damaged houses, he said.

The whirlwind hit Jelekong village`s areas on Friday at 05.00 pm but there were no reports of fatalities in the disaster, he said.

The extreme weather phenomena, such as whirlwinds and heavy rains, have been hitting various parts of Indonesia for months this year.

As a result of heavy rains showering some parts of Indonesia, for instance, flash floods inundated different parts of the country this week.

In South Jakarta, the flash floods inundated a few hundreds of houses in some housing complexes as a result of heavy rainfall last Tuesday.

Houses in housing complexes like Pondok Jaya, Mampang, and Pulo Raya Petogogan Road, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, reportedly remained submerged on early Wednesday.

The height of the flood waters was expected to reach between one meter and one and half meter in such housing complexes as Pondok Jaya and Petogogan village.

Sudden flooding was also experienced by hundreds of people in Totobo village, Pomalaa sub-district, Kolaka district, Southeast Sulawesi Province.

Due to heavy rains, about 200 houses and tens of hectares of paddy fields in the village were also submerged.

Unlike the flash floods in the provinces of Banten and Jakarta, the flood water in Totobo village was mixed with mud.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

RI calls for world action to stop trade of rare species

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Thu, 09/16/2010 9:13 AM

Indonesia called on parties to the UN biodiversity convention to stop receiving illegally traded endangered species, or loss of biodiversity would continue.

A senior official from the Forestry Ministry warned that Indonesia’s measures to protect endangered species, such as tigers and orangutans, by restoring their ailing habitats could be futile if foreign countries took no serious action to deal with illegal trade.

“It is similar to illegal logging. We could not rub it out if countries like Malaysia and China still accept illegal wood from Indonesia,” Darori, the ministry’s director general for forest protection and nature conservation, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

The two countries could be entry points for transfer of illegal timber from Indonesia to other nations, he added.

Darori made the statement as negotiators from 193 countries to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are preparing for a two-week summit in Nagoya, Japan, to seek solutions on how to protect biodiversity.

The tenth conference of parties (COP) to the CBD would be held on Oct. 18 to Oct. 29, with the closing three days slated for ministerial meetings.

International demand for rare species is still high, Darori said.

“We recently seized three tiger skins being exported at prices between Rp 50 million [US$5,550] and Rp 100 million per pelt,” he said.

Indonesia once had Javanese and Balinese tigers, but they are now extinct. The ministry predicted there were only 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature named the Sumatran tiger as critically endangered, while the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora placed it in Appendix I, prohibiting its trade.

“We want the upcoming CBD summit to discuss illegal trade of endangered species to protect biodiversity,” Darori said.

The three big outcomes of the COP10 meeting in Nagoya would be global agreement on a new strategy, the mobilization of finance, and a new legally-binding protocol on access and benefit sharing, a statement by the secretariat of CBD said on Wednesday.

“The decisions we take now will affect biodiversity for the coming millennium. We can’t have one outcome without the others. The COP10 meeting is all or nothing,” the Convention on Biological Diversity executive secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf said.

The CBD statement specifically elaborated on biodiversity issues in Indonesia. Indonesia was labelled as one of seventeen “megadiverse” nations, and has more biodiversity than any country other than Brazil, and is home to 10 percent of the world’s flowering plant species and 12 percent of all mammals. Many of Indonesia’s species — and more than half of the archipelago’s endemic plant species — are found nowhere else on Earth.

This biodiversity provides many natural goods and services to people of Indonesia, but it faces direct threats from human activities.

Since 1997, the rate of deforestation has reached 2.4 million hectares per year, mostly due to logging, conversion for agriculture and forest fires, the statement said.

This has contributed to the increase of the items on Indonesia’s list of threatened species, which now includes 140 species of bird and 63 species of mammal.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Flash Floods Kill 10 in Kalimantan; Bekasi Deluged

Jakarta Globe, September 12, 2010

Jakarta. Flash floods in central Indonesia have killed 10 people and left 14 others missing.

Local media reports say the flooding occurred on Saturday morning on the swollen banks of the Kinarum River, a popular tourist spot on Borneo island.

Many of the victims were children swimming as part of celebrations marking the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

MetroTV said 10 bodies had been pulled from the water. The news portal said a search was under way for 14 missing people.

Landslides and flooding triggered by torrential downpours kill dozens of people every year in the vast tropical archipelago of Indonesia, which has more than 17,000 islands.

States news agency Antara, meanwhile, reported that thousands of houses in Muara Gembong subdistrict, Bekasi district, West Java, were flooded after the Citarum river burst its banks.

“The water level varied from 40 centimeters to 80 centimeters at the villages of Bahagia, Pantai Mekar, Jaya Sakti, and Sederhana,” Muara Gembong subdistrict head Herman Susilo said on Saturday night. The flooding began at around 04.00 p.m.

He said the local authorities had been coordinating with other relevant parties to distribute assistance in the form of instant noodles, rice and drinking water in case of larger floods.


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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Two Injured in Gas Blast Near Lapindo Mud Volcano

Jakarta Globe, Amir Tejo | September 08, 2010

Sidoarjo, East Java. A mother and son are fighting for their lives after a natural gas explosion at their home near the Lapindo mudflow in Sidoarjo, East Java, on Tuesday night.

The victims were identified by police as Purwaningsih and her 22-year-old son, Debi Purbianto, who both suffered burns to 80 percent of their bodies.

The pair were reportedly at home in West Siring village when the blast happened at about 11 p.m. The resulting fire destroyed their home and two others across the street. Five fire trucks were called to the scene, but the fire was so big it took them until 3 a.m. to put it out.

Sidoarjo’s district police chief, Adj. Sr. Comr. Mohammad Iqbal, said the explosion was believed to have been due to a build-up of methane gas underneath one of the houses.

The Sidoarjo mud volcano, the largest of its kind in the world, has been spewing hot mud and highly flammable methane gas since May 2006.

Although widely blamed on the gas drilling activities of contractor Lapindo Brantas, which is part of the Bakrie Group owned by the family of Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie, the company has blamed the disaster on a distant earthquake.

The Sidoarjo Mudflow Mitigation Agency (BPLS) is also investigating the explosion.

BPLS spokesman Ahmad Kusairi said on Wednesday that the agency suspected the blast was sparked by firecrackers being lit close to a methane leak.

“Purwaningsih’s husband said he’d heard firecrackers going off near the house shortly before the fire,” he said, adding that no one in the house at the time had been smoking or using the stove, thus ruling out any possibility that the fire was ignited from inside the house.

Purwaningsih, meanwhile, said the explosion happened quickly. “I was peeling shallots, then all of a sudden I felt this excruciating heat all over my body,” she said from hospital.

The BPLS also said it had data indicating the methane that caught fire may have been trapped in a fissure beneath one of the houses across from Purwaningsih’s.

Kusairi said seismic readings from 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday showed there had been a slight subsidence of the land beneath the house, which he said could have trapped the methane there.

He also said that the house in question had in 2009 experienced a similar fire, although much smaller.