Monthly Archives: January 2016

Aceh citizens take legal action to protect Sumatran jungle

A male orangutan in the wild at Gunung Leuser National Park on Sumatra image www.pythonjungle.com

A male orangutan in the wild at Gunung Leuser National Park on Sumatra. Photo: Penny Stephens

Jakarta: Activists are suing the Indonesian government in a bid to stop development they say will devastate the last remaining area on earth where Sumatran tigers, rhinoceroses, orangutans and elephants live together in the wild.

The world-renowned Leuser Ecosystem in the heart of the Sumatran jungle in Aceh is at risk of being destroyed by a government plan to allow roads in the area and by potential concessions for mining and plantations, campaigners say.

In the latest stage of a nearly two-year bid to have the plan retracted, nine representatives of the group Gerakan Rakyat Aceh Menggugat launched a civil lawsuit at the Central Jakarta District Court.

malaysia map image www.pythonjungle.com

Photo: Google Maps

“[The plan] effectively dissolves protection of much of Aceh’s remaining tropical rainforests, whitewashing crimes of the past, and paving the way for a new wave of catastrophic ecological destruction,” GeRAM representative Farwiza Farhan said.

The short-term profits from the developments would not benefit the people of Aceh, she said.

“They are after quick immediate short-term gains, but the consequences will be borne by the rest of the community.”

A worker on the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program carries a tranquilised animal as it is prepared to be released into the wild image www.pythonjungle.com

A worker on the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program carries a tranquilised animal as it is prepared to be released into the wild last year. Photo: AP

The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program says the Leuser Ecosystem is crucial for the survival of the Sumatran tigers, rhinoceroses, elephants and orangutans.

“If you lose Leuser you lose all four of those species guaranteed,” Sumatran Orangutan Program conservation manager Ian Singleton said.

“The … plan basically ignores the existence of the Leuser Ecosystem. It opens up massive areas of lowland forests to potential new concessions for plantations, mining, timber even, and it also legalises many roads that have been cut through the forest … and roads alone are enough to send these species to extinction.”

The lawsuit is against both the Aceh government, which activists claim is acting unlawfully by not including the protected ecosystem in the plan, and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which they claim has failed to protect the Leuser Ecosystem.

The group claims the Ministry of Home Affairs indicated the plan would need to include protection of the ecosystem but has failed to take necessary action.

They are hoping to have the Aceh government redraw the plan and provide protection for the Leuser Ecosystem and proper environmental analysis.

The Leuser Ecosystem covers more than 2.6 million hectares across the provinces of Aceh and Northern Sumatra and is regarded by conservationists as one of the richest areas of tropical rainforest in Southeast Asia. Within the ecosystem is Gunung Leuser National Park, which is listed as a World Heritage Site.

“The Leuser Ecosystem is a jewel in the crown of the world’s rainforests – and it’s unbelievable that the Aceh government isn’t taking stronger steps to help protect it,” Professor Bill Laurance, of James Cook University, says.

“In a world in which invaluable ecosystems are vanishing almost daily, the Leuser is becoming one of the most alarming environmental tragedies unfolding anywhere.”

The geographically diverse area consists of lowland rainforest, peatlands, mountain ranges, lakes and nine substantial rivers. In addition to providing a habitat to a number of endangered wildlife species it is also a life system for the more than 4 million people, and helps protect the area from natural disasters such as flooding and landslides.

Professor Laurance has been campaigning to have the Leuser Ecosystem listed as a World Heritage Site.

“Virtually anywhere else on the planet, the Leuser would be protected as a World Heritage Site – a crucial element of our global heritage. I think the best hope is that the Indonesian federal government might be persuaded to intervene in Aceh, just as we saw happen in Australia with the establishment of World Heritage sites in Tasmania and the Queensland Wet Tropics. I haven’t seen much evidence that the Aceh government on its own is going to the swayed to protect Leuser.”

The court will order a mediation between the two parties before the litigation proceeds.

ooo

Henry Sapiecha

Photographer captures kangaroo family’s grief – Animals have emotions

roos @ fraser coast QLD emotional image www.pythonjungle.com

EVAN Switzer wasn’t expecting to capture a touching moment in nature when he went for his regular walk in River Heads.

Just metres away, he came across a male kangaroo clutching what looked to be the dead mother of the young joey who stood close by.

“I have never seen anything like this in the wildlife before,” Mr Switzer said.

It was on Monday afternoon when he saw a rare moment between two marsupials that he believed were grieving.

Mr Switzer, who has been walking in the area for the past 19 years, said he heard a ‘thumping sound’ and turned around.

“I saw the male pick up the female, it was quite amazing to see,” he said.

roos @ fraser coast QLD emotional 2 image www.pythonjungle.com

TOUCHING MOMENT: Evan Switzer captured this sad moment in nature on camera. Evan Switzer

A photographic enthusiast, Mr Switzer said he went home to grab his camera.

“It was pretty special to me … mourning the loss of its mate,” he said about the encounter.

“I have lost a dog so I understand the loss … but this is something you don’t see every day.”

Mr Switzer said he took photos for quite some time and while the kangaroo was protective of the other roos nearby, he didn’t seem fazed by Mr Switzer’s close proximity.

He was only a few metres away from the kangaroo family.

“I didn’t see any wounds, so it is a mystery how she died.”

HOO

Henry Sapiecha

www.frasercoastcentral.com.au

MORE WILDLIFE OF MADAGASCAR

Comet Moths

Comet Moths image www.pythonjungle.com

www.techniverse.net

How beautiful are these moths?! They are also known as Madagascan moon moths, and are some of the biggest silk moths in the entire world. How big do they get? Some wing spans can reach eight inches across. That’s a big moth! Sadly, once they reach adulthood, the moths only live for 4 to 5 days, which makes sightings a rare and special occurrence.

Flat-Tailed Geckos

Flat-Tailed Geckos image www.pythonjungle.com

www.wired.com

Can you even believe that thing is real? It’s hard to even see this gecko, which we guess is the whole point of its design, to stay incognito and safe from predators. There are more than 10 species of flat-tailed geckos, and all of them indigenous to Madagascar and its surrounding islands.

Aye-Ayes

aye-aye OF MADAGASCAR IMAGE www.pythonjungle.com

www.exoticanimalsforsale.net

We think it should be spelled eye-eyes because, well… look at those eyes. You can’t NOT stare at them. These guys are nocturnal primates and have opposable big toes which, along with their incredibly long tails, allows them to easily swing through the trees. But what’s even cooler is how they eat. They use their long middle fingers to tap on trees and listen for wood-boring insect larvae. They then use that same long finger to scrape that larvae out.

Aquatic Tenrecs

Lesser_hedgehog_tenrec_Echinops_telfairi_360w image www.pythonjungle.com

Sweet jumping jelly beans these things are ridiculously adorable. They must not think so though because they like to stay under the radar. In fact, they are among the most elusive species in the entire world. The biggest of these creatures is only a little over 6 inches in length, which doesn’t make them easy to spot. Their little webbed feet make them great swimmers and they look for bugs and tadpoles in the shallow waters.

Panther Chameleons

panther-chameleon image www.pythonjungle.com

Okay, this is quite possibly the most beautifully cool and awesome creature we’ve ever seen, but don’t tell our cat that. These chameleons, like other chameleons, change their color depending on their mood. They are usually very brightly colored, especially the males when courting, who want to impress the ladies with their dazzling color display. But wait, these animals get even cooler, they can rotate and focus their eyes independent of one another so they can look at two objects at the exact same time. Easier to spot and strike at their prey.

Madagascar Pochards [Worlds rarest ducks]

Madagascar_Pochard rare ducks image www.pythonjungle.com

www.tropicalbirding.com

Well right off the bat they have a super cool and exotic name. Pochards happen to be the world’s rarest ducks. What makes them completely amazing is that, up until 2006, these ducks were thought to be extinct, but then a small population of them showed up on a lake in Madagascar. Then, thanks to an extensive breeding program, these numbers have climbed and more ducks have been released into the wild. Let’s hope they can survive and thrive.

Fossas

Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) Kirindy Forest, West Madagascar

Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) Kirindy Forest, West Madagascar

www.bbc.co.uk

Another cool name, another cool animal. Look how cute this thing is, but what is it exactly? Kind of looks like a dog and a cat combined. Fosass are actually one of the few predators that live in Madagascar. Until very recently people always did assume they were from the feline family, but they are actually members of the mongoose family. They are nocturnal hunters and the majority of their diet consists of those adorable lemurs. But, when push comes to shove, they will also eat birds and reptiles.

Malagasy Leaf-Nosed Snakes

madagascar-leaf-nosed-snake-image www.pythonjungle.com

www.allposters.com

How handy would it be to have one of these snakes around? You could open cans, take out staples, and pick your teeth with its pointy nose. These are one of the most unique snakes that live in Madagascar. When they lie very still ready to pounce on their prey, their long noses blend in with tree leaves and they remain hidden quite well.

 

 

 

 

THE AMAZING TOMATO FROG OF MADAGASCAR

tomato_frog_image www.pythonjungle.com

Gee, we wonder how this frog got its name? Well, they look cool, but these frogs are fierce ambush predators that prey on insects in the wetter parts of the island. But, they’ve also been known to eat pretty much anything that will fit in their mouths. But many of us can say the same thing, so… The cool thing about these frogs is that it is the females, not the males, who are colored so brightly. The not so cool thing is when threatened, they can secrete a special kind of poison through their skin.

OOO

Henry Sapiecha