Borneo rainforests, destruction and conservation


This video from Indonesia is called Protecting a Forest — and a Way of Life: Watching over Wehea.

From Wildlife Extra:

As Borneo deforestation reaches critical level a new protection area is established

According to data published by the Indonesian Forestry Agency, the deforestation in Borneo that occurred between 2000 and 2005 topped 1.23 million hectares, reports ProFauna, the Indonesian organisation for the protection of wild animals and their habitats.

This means that every day around 673 hectares of forest disappeared during that period.

Land conversion into palm oil plantation, timber concessions, industrial plants and mining activities are among the major triggers of the loss.

Despite the threats, there are moves afoot to halt the decline in East Borneo, 450km away from the provincial capital of Samarinda.

The Wehea Protection Forest encompasses an area of 38.000 hectares, 250m above sea level on the eastern part and up to 1750m above sea level on the western part, which means the vegetation varies from lowland forest to montane forest and supports 19 mammals species, 114 birds species, 12 rodents species, 9 primates species, and 59 invaluable types of plants.

One of the most valuable aspects of this forest is its importance to the lives of Bornean orangutans. In 2012, the head of the local environment agency, Didi Suryadi, stated that there were approximately 750 individual orangutans whose lives depend on the sustainability of Wehea forest.

Wehea Protection Forest was established in 2005. The governing board consists of government agencies, indigenous people, educational institutions, and NGOs.

Local people have also formed a ranger team, the members of which are young men of the Dayah Wehea tribe who take turns every day to secure the forest.

Recently, a team from ProFauna visited the Wehea people to establish ties to help with the conservation work.

The secretary of the village, Siang Geah, said: “We are very glad to have ProFauna in Wehea and hope that we can establish a positive partnership in protecting our dwindling forests.”

Save Sumatran elephants


This video is called Sumatran Elephant Emergency Appeal.

It says about itself:

26 June 2014

An emergency appeal has been launched by the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) for local conservation group HAkA, in response to a significant increase in poaching of Sumatran elephants in Aceh, Indonesia.

The appeal will allow the HAkA teams (made up of local community members and trained conservation professionals) to carry out essential patrols in the Leuser ecosystem throughout July, to remove snares from this key Sumatran elephant corridor during the most intense hunting period.

Visit here to donate.

Wildlife Extra adds:

There are just 500 Sumatran elephants, which are the smallest of the Asian elephants, left and they live in fragmented habitats, as almost 70 per cent of elephant-suitable habitat has been destroyed in the last 25 years.

As a result of this their home, the tropical forests of the Leuser Ecosystem, is part of a designated World Heritage Site in Danger.

And conservationists fear that an increase in poaching could drive this number down even further.

In the first five months of this year, local conservation group HAkA has found and destroyed 139 snares – already more than in the whole of 2013.

Limited forest cover also means that elephants can easily be trapped in small areas, making them easier targets for poachers.

Bali, Indonesia, colonial war and painting


This video is about the Dutch colonial war in Denpasar in Bali island, Indonesia, in 1906.

In 1908, there was another colonial war on Bali, against Klungkung principality.

Klungkung puputan painting from Bali

From the Newsletter #68 of the International Institute for Asian Studies in the Netherlands, summer 2014:

Bali at war: a painted story of resistance to colonial rule

The defeat of the royal family in Klungkung by Dutch soldiers on 28 April 1908 marks the point at which the entire island of Bali was incorporated into the colonial administration of the Netherlands East Indies. Both the event and the painting discussed here are known as the Puputan, meaning the ‘finishing’ or ‘the end’ in Balinese, referring to the slaughter or ritual surrender of the Klungkung royal family. This painting sits within a corpus of oral traditions about the defeat of Klungkung yet it shifts conventional perspectives by describing local developments prior to the clash between the Dutch and members of the royal household at the site of the palace.

The complete article is here.

Survivors of Japanese militarist sex slavery demand justice


This video from Australia says about itself:

Australian comfort woman Jan Ruff-O’Herne

Jan Ruff-O’Herne told her shocking story on Australian Story in 2001 – a secret that took her 50 years to come to terms with before finally, she revealed it in a letter to her two daughters.

An idyllic childhood in Java was brought to an abrupt end by the Japanese occupation during Word War Two. Aged 21, she was taken from her family and repeatedly abused, beaten and raped – forced to be a sex slave for the Japanese military.

The term coined for this brutal sex slavery was ‘comfort woman‘.

But since revealing her ‘uncomfortable truth’ Jan Ruff-O’Herne’s suffering has been transformed into something affirmative.

In February this year, this 84-year-old Adelaide grandmother made the long journey to testify before Congress in Washington DC. The Congressional hearing was the pinnacle in her 15-year global campaign to seek justice for ‘comfort women‘.

Now six years since Australian Story first aired her story, Jan Ruff-O’Herne feels she is one step closer to finally achieving her ultimate goal.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

JAPAN: Five former victims of Japan’s wartime sex slavery and their supporters submitted hundreds of official documents to the government today, demanding that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe face up to the country’s past atrocity and formally apologise.

Several support groups backing the women, who are from Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea, said the documents collected from round the world include clear evidence of coercion.

Successive Japanese governments have insisted that there is no proof the women were systematically coerced, citing a lack of official Japanese documents stating so.

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Sumatran tiger Internet game


This video is called On the Trail of the Tiger. It says about itself:

Award-winning photographer Steve Winter documents the disappearance of Asian Tigers in India, Sumatra, and Thailand.

From Wildlife Extra:

Zoological Society of London creates fun online game to highlight Sumatran tigers

The Zoological Society of London is inviting animal lovers to embrace their inner-beast and take on the persona of a fearsome predator in a brand new online challenge called Tiger Territory: The Game.

To celebrate the huge success of ZSL London Zoo’s flagship Sumatran tiger exhibit, Tiger Territory: The Game was launched to give budding conservationists and game-addicts alike the chance to experience life as a wild tiger deep in the forests of Indonesia.

With two modes to keep gamers on their toes, players get to grips with their surroundings in the Adventure stage, where they have to unlock 12 achievements. Highlighting the tigers’ behaviours and ZSL conservation techniques, including sniffing out prey and being ‘papped’ by a camera-trap, players have to be careful to evade poachers’ snares and palm oil plantations guarded by electric fences.

Once gamers have earned their stripes, they can embrace the Sumatran tigers’ remarkable hunting abilities in Arcade mode. In just 60 seconds their tigers have to hunt and eat as much as they can, from the common wild boar to the incredibly elusive tapir, in an attempt to boost their energy points.

Game-maker Filip Hnizdo said: “Tiger Territory: The Game is a chance for people to take on some of the challenges that wild Sumatran tigers face every day, from avoiding palm oil plantations to hunting for their speedy prey.

“We’ve worked with the conservation teams at ZSL London Zoo to replicate the tigers’ Indonesian home and behaviours as closely as possible – including the prey they hunt, rivers for them to swim in, and trees for them to hide under.

“We hope people will have great fun playing, and that they’ll also take away some awareness of the wild lives of Sumatran tigers and the very real threats that they’re facing – unfortunately for them, it’s not a game.”

With just 300 Sumatran tigers remaining in the wild, ZSL London Zoo coordinates the worldwide conservation breeding programme for the species, and is working in Indonesia to create wildlife corridors between fragmented forests, patrol tiger habitats, and carry out vital monitoring of the wild populations.

PLAY TIGER TERRITORY: THE GAME: here.

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Bowerbird bowers inspire artist


This video is called Life – The Vogelkop Bowerbird: Nature’s Great Seducer – BBC One.

From Audubon Magazine in the USA:

Incredibly Elaborate Homes of Bowerbirds Inspire New Art Exhibit

Janelle Iglesias reimagines the birds’ creations with a mix of locally sourced natural and recycled materials.

Todd Petty

Published: 03/26/2014

The male Vogelkop bowerbird goes to incredible lengths to attract a mate. With the creativity of an artist and the industry of an architect, he collects both natural and manmade materials found nearby to create an elaborate nest. He’ll incorporate everything from twigs and grasses to bottle caps and string into his masterpiece, all in the hopes of wooing a lady. Now, art is imitating this incredible behavior seen in life.

The remarkable bird inspired New York-based artist Janelle Iglesias’s new exhibit, In High Feather, at the University at Buffalo. The immersive, two-story bower in the style of the Vogelkop bowerbird, isn’t intended to be an exact replica of the bird’s home, Iglesias says, but rather an artistic reimagining.

Iglesias recently visited the Arfak Mountains in Indonesia in search of what she calls “the most advanced avian architecture on earth.” Her trip was made possible with the help of a Jerome Foundation travel and study grant.

Iglesias says that the kinship she felt for the Vogelkop bowerbird extends beyond an appreciation for their constructions. She and the birds use locally sourced material, often repurposing discarded items, she says. “I felt like I needed to make some decisions about my practice that would align my [environmental and political] philosophies,” she explains.

The bowerbird uses the space they create for seduction, luring females to visit and check out what they’ve created, in much the same way an artist seeks an audience. In fact, Iglesias invited the public to watch her build the exhibit, which opened February 27.

The two-story installation in the Lightwell Gallery will also include images and field recordings from her trip, as well as discarded items she picked up, including Christmas trees and cereal boxes. Just like the bowerbirds’ creations, her invention is a wonder to behold.

In High Feather runs until May 10.

This video says about itself:

Documentation of Janelle Iglesias’ installation at BCA Firehouse Gallery, “Draw Back the Bow (or Kill Your Darlings),” 2010. Video & music by Jin Kim.

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