Baby elephant video from Indonesia


This video from Indonesia says about itself:

Baby elephant learns to use her trunk

20 Dec 2013

This adorable baby elephant was born to a mother who is part of an elite team of critically endangered Sumatran elephants that help protect communities from conflict with wild elephants in Indonesia.

She’s nearly 4 months old, growing fast and starting to imitate her mother’s behaviour. Here it looks like she’s getting to grips with using her trunk!

Read more about the fantastic work of WWF-Indonesia’s elephant Flying Squad and the newest addition here.

Tiger poachers thwarted in Indonesia


This video says about itself:

May 9, 2011

For more information: www.wwf.or.id/savesumatra

This forest is under imminent threat of being cleared by the pulp and paper industry, despite being designated a “global priority Tiger Conservation Landscape”.

WWF urges the industry to save this and other tiger forests from destruction.

Footage taken in March 2011 by automatic video cameras in a wildlife corridor connecting Rimbang Baling Wildlife Sanctuary and Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Riau and Jambi Province in Sumatra, Indonesia. Within only 2 months 12 different tigers were identified in a 50,000 ha forest block surveyed with the cameras.

Video is courtesy of WWF Indonesia’s Tiger Research Team and PHKA.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rangers destroy 40 active tiger snares in Sumatra’s Kerinci Seblat National Park

Tiger Protection and Conservation Units hailed for their heroic efforts in this year’s Great Kerinci Snare Sweep.

August 2013. In any competition there are winners and losers. But for Tiger Protection & Conservation Unit rangers taking part in this year’s Great Kerinci Snare Sweep, even victory was marred by concern as the results revealed a huge rise in threat to Sumatran tigers from purpose-built snares.

Runs during Ramadan

The Great Kerinci Snare Sweep is an annual competition that began in 2011 and offers bonuses to tiger protection rangers in the long-running Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and Kerinci Seblat National Park Sumatran tiger protection and conservation programme. The snare sweep starts just before (and runs for the duration of) the holy month of Ramadan and offers bonuses to the Tiger Protection and Conservation Units (TPCUs) that find and destroy the most active snares in the national park during forest patrols.

All snares rewarded

Although the emphasis is on finding and destroying active tiger snares, points are also awarded for destroying snares targeting deer and other smaller mammals, as well as removing snares and mist nets used for capturing wild birds.

Over the course of the five week snare sweep, the six TPCUs destroyed a truly shocking 40 active tiger snares (by comparison, in the whole of 2011 a total of 11 active snares were found on three of the 91 patrols conducted) along with 564 active deer snares and 79 bird snares.

Arrests

They also arrested two deer poachers (who placed a total of 270 snares in a single area) and a further nine men (from another park-edge province and district) on suspicion of poaching helmeted hornbills; these individuals were later released on bail, their high-powered air guns confiscated.

Tip-offs

Of the tiger snares destroyed, 80% were found as a result of covert investigations or tip-offs from forest-edge community informants, while more than half the deer snares destroyed were also found as a result of ‘information received.’

Tigers recorded

Not all was bad news though – the ranger units also made 29 Sumatran tiger presence records during this period – including two units reporting disturbed nights’ sleep due to what the team traditionally describe as ‘an orchestra’ but others might describe as tigers roaring.

Lone rangers

As its name suggests, the Sumatran tiger is found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and is the country’s last remaining subspecies.

Although population estimates vary, the most recent research indicates that around 500-700 of these animals remain in the wild, with numbers in decline due to illegal poaching (primarily for their skin and bones) and through habitat loss for plantations, small holder agriculture and mining.

Tigers are primarily solitary animals that require large territories and a good supply of prey, making them an excellent ‘umbrella species’; not only does their presence (or absence) indicate the overall health of an ecosystem, but conservation efforts that target tigers inevitably benefit other species as well.

In 2011, an island-wide survey (the first of its kind) found that Sumatran tigers were widely distributed across the 1.38 million hectare (5,300 square mile) Kerinci Seblat National Park, highlighting not only the importance of the area for this big cat, but also the significance and magnitude of the TPCUs’ task.

A seasonal surge, or something more sinister?

The TPCU ranger units (which consist of members of forest-edge communities contracted through FFI and national park rangers on secondment to the programme) work from base camps to the east and west of the national park. During the course of this year’s snare sweep, TPCUs conducted 26 forest patrols, spending just over 110 days in the forest and walking a distance of well over 200 km – an heroic effort, given that the last three weeks coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, when most of the rangers, as devout Muslims, were fasting (from both food and water) from dawn to dusk.

Ramadan sees a surge in poaching

The Ramadan period sees a surge in poaching in many areas around the national park as the Fast is traditionally broken with special meals – including venison – while poachers are happy to satisfy demand and reap the profit. And because these snares are indiscriminate, they threaten not only deer (key tiger prey) but also other non-target species, including tigers themselves. Hari Raya Idul Fitri, a huge celebration marking the end of the fasting month, only adds to the incentive to poach.

However by 2010, patrols and other actions had seen continuing year-on-year falls in both tiger and deer poaching in the teams’ focus patrol areas, even during the Ramadan period, as hunters realised there was a strong likelihood of their snares being destroyed (and so either stopped or sought other, safer, sites to hunt).

The Great Kerinci Snare Sweep was established in 2011 as a novel way to incentivise TPCU rangers to seek out remaining deer and other poaching hotspots while rewarding them for working so hard in a period when many try to avoid hard physical labour. But the results from this year’s sweep seem to confirm a worrying trend.

“Over the last year, forest patrols and investigations have recorded a deeply disturbing surge in threat, both in the number of snares found on patrol and in suspected trade in tiger body parts,” says Debbie Martyr (the Kerinci team leader), who believes there is strong evidence that the demand is from overseas, not Indonesia, and is highly organised.

“Deeply alaming”

“We know from team investigations that huge sums of money are being brandished to tempt former poachers back into the forest to hunt tigers, while the cartels we believe responsible are very difficult to penetrate. It is deeply alarming that the team has found so many tiger snares in such a short period of time, but hardly surprising given what we have learned in the last 18 months.”

Battle plans

As the TPCU rangers pack up for a well-earned break, plans are underway to hold a ‘council of war’ at the team’s main base camp to discuss the explosion in tiger poaching in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park and how to take action against the organised syndicates behind the problem.

In the meantime, back-up teams remain in place, ready – as always – to respond to emergencies.

November 2013: IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme and WWF have signed an agreement to develop the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas in a bid to promote tiger conservation through the WWF’s Tigers Alive initiative: here.

A tiger conservation programme managed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has received €20 million from the German government through the KfW Development Bank. The aim of the programme is to increase the number of tigers in the wild and improve the livelihoods of communities living in and close to their habitat: here.

Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, new evidence


Dutch war crime in Indonesia. photo: city archive Enschede

Translated from Dutch history site Historiek.net:

“Biff bang bow. Within two minutes they were all dead”

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

A year ago the Volkskrant daily published pictures of an execution in the Dutch East Indies. The unknown images were photographed during the Dutch army’s “police actions“, but much could not be told then about the actual execution. However, an 87-year-old veteran has said now to daily NRC Handelsblad that he was then a witness to that execution. The Indonesians in the picture were executed by a Dutch lieutenant, he says.

Last year, there was a lot to do about the pictures, because for the first time they showed that during the Dutch police actions there were summary executions. Experts of the NIOD [Dutch Institute for War Documentation] and the Dutch Institute for Military History (NIMH) concluded that these were unique pictures. However, where and why the execution had taken place was not known. The photos were taken by a soldier from Enschede who served as a conscript in the Dutch East Indies. This veteran is now deceased.

It now turns out that 87-year-old veteran Harry Nouwen was a witness to the execution, which he says took place in 1949 in the village Gedong Tataan in the province of South Sumatra. In NRC Handelsblad he reports that his lieutenant executed thirteen or fourteen men in retaliation for an ambush. The men had to sit with their hands in their necks in a ditch for this.

Harry Nouwen: “Biff bang bow. Within two minutes they were all dead”.

The veteran, who was a telegrapher, never spoke about the incident because he had sworn an oath to keep army secrets. That he is breaking the silence now, he says, is because of the photos published last year in the Volkskrant. That brought everything back. Nouwen says that it happened more often that his unit killed prisoners of war. …

The Veterans Institute has also spoken with Nouwen and say they have no reason to doubt the authenticity of his story.

Major research

Last year, the directors of three research institutes advocated a major new study of the military actions of the Netherlands in the former Dutch East Indies in the years 1945-1949.

See also here. And here.

Sumatran tiger twins born, video


In the night of 4-5 May 2013, two Sumatran tigers were born in Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

This video shows their birth.

This video is about adult tigers at that zoo.

Researchers discover human activity threatens Sumatran tiger population: here.

July 2013. Sumatran tigers, found exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, are on the brink of extinction. By optimistic estimates, perhaps 400 individuals survive. But the exact the number and locations of the island’s dwindling tiger population has been up for debate: here.

Sumatran Tiger Cubs Born At Smithsonian’s National Zoo Are Totally Adorable (PHOTOS, VIDEO): here.

Rare Sumatran mammal, video


Focusing on Wildlife writes about this video:

Rare, strange mammal caught on camera in Sumatra

March 11, 2013

A video camera trap expedition into ’s Leuser ecosystem has captured a rarely-seen, bizarre mammal on tape. The () is a goat-antelope found both on Sumatra and mainland Southeast Asia. Rarely seen and little-studied, the animals inhabit highland areas.

Sumatran serow

Sumatran serow at Dusit Zoo, Bangkok, .

“Serows seem to be rare creatures, we only filmed two individuals. But they might still be common in Leuser’s high and remote corners,” Marten Slothouwer, who is running the expedition, told mongabay.com, noting that there is little information on the species.

The Sumatran serow is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List; it is threatened by deforestation and hunting. The species is one of six serows found across East Asia. “In Sumatra they have been photographed in several areas and people in Leuser do like their meat, but it’s not something widely that’s available,” Slothouwer says.

Eyes on Leuser has managed to capture over 40 species on video, many of them rarely seen or recorded, in some of the last forests of Sumatra.

Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0305-hance-sumatran-serow-video.html.