Abdullah’s Blog – Tackling Wildlife Trade and its Obstacles

About 75 km to the southeast of the capital city of West Java lies a town with lots of panoramic views. Beaches, volcanoes, hot springs, and other beautiful landscapes can be found easily here. No wonder people call Garut as Swiss van Java. A piece of Switzerland lies in Java.

Every Thursday, I take a project motorbike to go down the hill to the center of Garut for market surveys.  The town has two bird markets, Kerkoff and Mawar bird market. They are not far from each other. Kerkoff is more like a bunch of fragmented bird shops, the shops are separated by a big river of Cimanuk. There are 6-7 shops I visit in Kerkoff market. The market has been undergoing some changes over the time such as shop closing down or new shop open. While Mawar market consists of lining bird shops, and behind this, lies the traditional market. Kerkoff is usually busier with birdkeepers than Mawar as its provide more bird species and more number of individuals offered. There is one shop in Kerkoff market that sometimes they sell Mammals such as palm civets, leopard cats, etc. Luckily I never saw slow loris sold there.

A glimpse of a shop in kerkoff market

 

Each surveys I conduct, I can find more than 50 species of birds (more than 600 individuals) displayed in Kerkoff, surprisingly high for a small market and more than 20 species (around 100 individuals) in Mawar market. Those numbers include the threatened and nationally protected species. Despite our efforts to tackle the illegal trade by reporting it to the authorities in Garut, I see their number (threatened, protected species or not) rarely gets lower over period. It is actually saddening and frustrating at the same time as we do it every weeks and report it, but nothing changes that much.

Leopard cat in kerkoff market

 

 

Critically Endangered and nationally protected bali myna in mawar market

Once, we came to the local authority office in Garut, sat down, and asked nicely why it kept happening, and what we could do better. As they opened their mouth, I could guess that classic answer would come out of theirs. It turned out to be true. They just answered that they didn’t have enough space and money for confiscated animals to get rehabilitated. It took a long process as well and they are understaffed. It is true that they can just capture the animals and release it without checking their condition. But even when the dealers are busted during an operation, they just take the information from the traders’ ID card, tell them what they are doing is illegal and they will put a serious action next time they do it, then they just let them away to avoid big conflicts. Of course, it gives no deterrent effect to the traders.   

The process of confiscation, rehabilitation, and release require big amount of human and financial resources. They said there was high enthusiasm from people who wanted to work for conservation under the government, but they didn’t have enough money to hire more. Suddenly, corruption and laziness popped out in my mind. Yes, it’s always been the main root issue in the country, not just for conservation but also for other sectors. Such a country with its mega biodiversity doesn’t have enough budget to save what it has is weird for me. It’s also true, though, as our government never prioritizes wildlife, and if they do care, there will still be people with lazy mind wanting to gain money so fast that they don’t care how that money is supposed to be spent effectively for publics.

Those are not the only problem. Some people in Indonesia doesn’t really appreciate process. They would do something instantly to get money without thinking the negative impacts it may cause. Without giving time for nature to recover, they poach wildlife. Some of them also think that leaving such jobs will kill them and their family as they feel that is the only thing they can do to earn money.  So, when they feel destined to be a poacher, they will not stop until there is nothing left for them to poach. This is another hard job for conservationists to change such perceptions.

The battle against wildlife trade is still far from over. So are the battle against habitat loss and other conservation issues. Beside battles, we also have a race against rapid extinction. If we can win the battles, we can win the race. Until then, all the frontliners of wildlife protectors must never give up.  

Behind the Scenes of Real World Conservation

Everyone reading this is most likely aware of the Little Fireface Project and what we do.  Our conservation and research work is crucial to the survival of the Javan slow loris and often times we can look incredibly impressive through our social media accounts and research outputs.

While this is all of course an accurate representation of the incredible work that I am lucky enough to be a part of, it is only half of the story. Unfortunately, only a small portion of each of my days is reflected in these inspiring images. The vast majority of the day of a coordinator is much less glamourous!
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Sapphire’s Experience in Cipaganti

Left: Top – Tracker Yiyi, Saphy, Tracker Adin, Middle – Lala, Saphy, Aim and Ida (all volunteers), Bottom – Ella (FSC), Abdullah (Wildlife Trade Officer), Saphy, Ben, Imanol (volunteers) and Hélène (Research Co-ordinator) Right: Top – Wita (LFP Teacher) and Saphy, Bottom – Saphy, Ben, Tracker Aconk and Tracker Yiyi.

 

HAPPY HO-LORISIDAES!

It’s the holiday season here at LFP and it’s a time to celebrate and conserve simultaneously. I’m Sapphire and I apologise for my awful pun in the title! I have now been in Cipaganti for almost four months helping with day shifts, night follows, starting my project on loris bridges, teaching English and learning Indonesian in Garut and helping to sort the camera trap data! As I haven’t written a blog in a few months I thought I’d go hardcore and go through what I’ve been up to and hopefully inspire some of you to spread awareness for the project and its plight, but also to come and volunteer in a place like this! So I hope you enjoy what I have to say. Continue reading

Imanol’s experience at LFP so far

I´m Imanol and I´m from Bilbao. I have come to LFP as part of my master´s degree – I study Primatology in Girona. I am particularly interested in prosocial behaviours of primates and have been analysing this topic throughout many species. Now I have travelled accross the world to study this first-hand in the field, specifically in slow lorises. I will stay in Indonesia for 4 months, although now I have already hit the halfway mark! So for my first blog I would like to talk a little bit about my emotional journey of coming to the project.

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Aim’s Great Experiences with Birds and Javan Slow Loris at the Little Fireface Project

Hi there, I am Zulaima Rakhmatiar. but my friends just call me Aim. I’m from Yogyakarta, Indonesia and I study at the faculty of Forestry at Universitas Gadjah Mada Yogyakarta. My studies focus on wildlife, especially birds. I am currently a volunteer at LFP and I have a project about interactions between Javan Slow Loris (Nycticebus javanicus) with birds. This is my primary research for my undergraduate thesis. In Cipaganti, Garut there is a lot of farm and agroforestry. In Sundanese (the native language of West Java) agroforestry is called “Talun”. The Javan Slow Loris currently must live in this changed habitat. Farmers plant many vegetables like cabbages, pumpkins (in Indonesian called Labu Siam), tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes etc. In Cipaganti there are a lot of tea gardens too. At the edge of the gardens there are certain tree species including: Kayu Putih (Eucalyptus sp.), Suren (Toona sureni), Avocado (Persea americana), Kayu Angin (Casuarina junghuniana), Bamboo and more. Continue reading

Ida’s blog – The Bats in Cipaganti

Hai readers. My name is Ida Mustikaningrum. I come from Yogyakarta city. I study at Gadjah Mada University. Now I have lived in Cipaganti village, Cisurupan, West Java. I stay in green house of little fireface project (LFP) and usually people in here call yayasan muka geni. Little fireface project is a foundation that concern in conservation of slow lorises. In the LFP, there are 18 lorises that observed and the lorises have collared. Many activities in here are focused in lorises, such as observation, round, sleep site, photo shift, and capture. Each activity has the characteristics of each. Observation, we must observe the behaviour of lorises during five until six hours, but we can write the behaviour in the data sheet is every five minutes. Round, likes observation, but we can see the behaviour of lorises during 15 minutes and every shift of round we must looking for all the lorises. Sleep site, we must search the sleep site of every lorises and marking with GPS if we have found the sleep site. Photoshift, hunting photos of the lorises and hope get a lot of photos. Capture, we must capture the lorises and measure the morfometri and the weight of lorises, or we can put or take the collare. LFP give me a lot of learn especially about lorises because I become volunteer in here.

Additionally, In the Cipaganti I have done my project about diversity of bats in Cipaganti, Garut, West Java to get my bachelor title. I start my project around one month ago. My project area is at the homerange of lorises. I use mist net to capture the bats, so I put the mist net in homerange of lorises. Bats is a nocturnal animal, like lorises. So I go to field at the night.

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Slow Loris Outreach Week 2017

Every October the Little Fireface Project invites the whole world to participate in Slow Loris Outreach Week (SLOW). Each year a collaboration of inspirational people from different areas of the globe work hard to create awareness of the Critically Endangered slow loris. We at the Little Fireface Project would love to take this opportunity to sincerely and humbly thank everyone who have supported the slow loris and the Little Fireface Project.

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My Wonderful Experience with Javan Slow Loris at the Little Fireface Project – Carala Rosadi

Hi to everyone reading my blog, hopefully it will deliver a message about why we should care about wildlife, especially the Javan Slow Loris “Kukang Jawa” and also what we can do to save them from any kind of threat of being extinct. Firstly, let me introduce myself, my name is Carala Rosadi, I’m Indonesian and a Forestry Student that focuses in Forest Resource Conservation in Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I started to be interested about wildlife when I’m in the last semester because I want to do something different that I’ve never done before.  That’s my reason for deciding to come to Cipaganti, Garut, West Java and take part in wildlife-related activities and volunteer for the inspired and gorgeous project I’ve heard of – the Little Fireface Project. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading my story, and help to improve your compassion to the Javan Slow Loris and also encourage you to work together with us to save them from extinction.

A Sapphire for our Slow Lorises!

Sapphire on the far right, participating in a team film for SLOW2017

I’m Sapphire and I have come to LFP as part of my BSc in Zoology at Cardiff University. Almost two months into my placement year and I am loving it here. I enjoy the culture, the people, the family that the staff and volunteers have become and obviously the wildlife! I will be studying positions of loris bridges alongside helping out with the behavioural observations throughout the night and helping to teach children English in a school in Garut. Some days are busy busy busy, and this is one of them.

When you first wake up you hear the mosque prayers, the motorbikes zooming past the house, the chickens squawking and the hustle and bustle of this small village you’ve made your home. As you make your way to the kitchen, four cats surround you for attention (and most likely food) and after a good cup of tea (in my case at least) you are able to start your day. Continue reading

A day in the life of a volunteer at LFP

You wake up to the sound of the mosque cascading through the village and motorcycles buzzing by. Stretch, yawn, sniff the air to see if Ibu Ina is downstairs and cooking yet. This may have a significant bearing on your morning ritual as it may take up to 30 minutes before you’re able to boil the kettle to make a coffee. After having determined if there is in fact an Ibu in the kitchen, roll out of bed and navigate the steep stair case descending into the common area. Post haste head into the kitchen whilst attempting to avoid treading on the cats. They will be determined to give you the warmest welcome to the day you could ever hope to receive (though I suspect they only want me for my ability to reach the cat food). Continue reading