Sunday, December 16, 2012

Indonesia will have a marine mammal stranding SOP

Trying to save a whale

On Friday, 14 December 2012, the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries Affairs (MMAF) held a meeting in Jakarta to discuss the Standard Operating Procedure to handle stranded marine mammals across Indonesia. Among the attendants were representatives of several divisions under the MMAF, the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), WWF Indonesia, Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) and Conservation International Indonesia (that was me). The meeting was actually the third meeting to discuss the SOP, so when I arrived, I was already presented with the latest draft. 

We agreed to limit the discussion on the SOP outline. The SOP will be printed as a book (in Indonesian), distributed to various places in the Archipelago, particularly where stranding events often occurred. We eventually agreed upon the following outline: 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Say hi to Lovina's less crowded neighbour: Bondalem and Tejakula

Fraser's dolphins off Bondalem in March'12

When I was doing my PhD in Lovina, I was invited to a talk at the local Rotary Club Chapter. They were excited to learn what I was doing there; but I was more excited to learn about totally new information (at least to me) from an expatriate lady who came all the way from Tejakula (in eastern Buleleng Regency). The lady told me that she and her friends never bothered to go to Lovina for dolphin watching because they had a better alternative: Apparently, they have dolphins too in Tejakula!

I was excited and curious about the presence of another dolphin population in Buleleng, just 50km eastward of Lovina. But I never got to go there. I just never made time. 

Anyway, when I was already working at Conservation International (well, still is), I had several meetings with government officers of Buleleng about Bali MPA Network (more about this in another post, perhaps). There, I gave a presentation on the results of my PhD. To my surprise, a guy came to see me afterwards and said that he often saw dolphins off Bondalem Village in Tejakula (east Buleleng)! This guy (Mr Gede Mertha) is the local fisheries extension officer, by the way, a very nice guy. 

Whale barf and perfume!

I once wrote here about the importance of being able to wrap our thesis in a three minutes talk (just in case you meet an important donor or a related minister in an elevator). Well, PhDcomics had gone to the extreme and made a 'my thesis in two-minutes' competition. This cool two-minutes video on of Baillie Redfern's PhD thesis about ambergris (sperm whale barf) and perfume is one of the winners.

From the video info at YouTube:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Whale Protected Areas Google Earth

Just a shortie this time. I just found this one online, Google Earth's Whale Protected Areas 3D tour. Very cool and informative! 

Here's what the video information on YouTube said about the project:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lima kiat untuk jalani dan selesaikan PhDmu

(This is the Indonesian version of a post titled ‘Five tips to survive your PhD’. Scroll down to the previous post or click this link for the English version)

Hari ini saya dapat satu komik lucu banget dari situs favorit saya Komik ini tentang dokumen ‘final’ yang kudu di-submit (di sini tentang thesis S3, walaupun dokumennya bisa dokumen ‘final’ apa saja). Komik itu benar-benar mencerminkan dunia mahasiswa S3 atau PhD, jadinya saya post di sini.

Ini PhDcomic bener banget, tau ga sih...

Selain itu, komik ini juga mengingatkan saya akan ide tulisan tentang kehidupan PhD. Saya waktu itu membuat artikel ini tentang tips bersekolah di luar negeri (bhs Inggris). Ternyata artikel tersebut nomor dua paling banyak dibaca di blog ini. Karenanya, saya rasa penting (ato paling tidak, menarik bagi saya) untuk menuliskan satu artikel tentang kiat untuk hidup dengan thesis PhD/S3 kita.

Five tips to survive your PhD

(klik di sini untuk versi Indonesia)

I found a very funny comic from my favourite site the just now. It’s about the ‘final’ document of a manuscript (the PhD thesis in this case, but it could be any ‘final’ document too). The comic is so true to the real world of a PhD student, so I thought I should post it here. 

This PhDcomic is so true to the real world, you know?

Also, the comic reminds me of a post I’ve been meaning to write about, concerning PhD life. I’ve made a post on tips on studying abroad here, and apparently, it is the second most popular (comparatively speaking) post in this blog. Hence, I think it’s also important (at least interesting for me) to write a post about how to survive (and hopefully thrive on) our PhD and thesis. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A total of 48 short-finned pilot whales stranded at Sabu Island, East Nusa Tenggara

A total of 48 short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) stranded at Sabu Raiju (Sabu Island, East Nusa Tenggara) last night (Monday, 1 October 2012). I first received the information from Veda Santiaji and Kimpul Sudarsana from WWF Indonesia. They in turn received the first-hand account from Alexander S. Tanody (The Nature Conservancy, Savu Sea), the closest field-based office and NGO from the stranding event. 

 Photo @ Sabu government via WWF Indonesia

According to Alexander, around 7pm on Monday (1 October 2012), 44 pilot whales stranded at Deme Village (Liae District, Sabu Raijua Regency). Related government agencies went straight away to the location. By 4 o’clock in the morning, 4 whales were released back to the sea, while many of the 40 pilot whales were already dead. The whales were about 2-9 m long. Two additional whales (assuming the same species) were also found stranded at the neighbouring village. 

Many people in Indonesia are still unfamiliar with stranding events. In addition, due to the remoteness of the location, high mortality rate during stranding events is understandable. FYI, I have posted tips to handle stranded cetaceans here (Indonesian version  and English version).

Logically, my friends asked me why this event happened. Not an easy question. I cannot set aside the possibility of pathological reason behind the stranding event. An autopsy needs to be done to see if the animals were ill, and thus stranded. Below is my analysis of the possible cause(s) of the event. 

Sejumlah 48 paus pemandu sirip pendek terdampar di Pulau Sabu, Nusa Tenggara Timur

Sejumlah 48 paus pemandu sirip pendek (Globicephala macrorhynchus) terdampar di Pulau Sabu, Nusa Tenggara Timur pada hari Senin, 1 Oktober 2012 sekitar pukul 19:00 WITA. Saya menerima berita ini berturut-turut dari Kimpul Sudarsana dan Veda Santiaji (WWF Indonesia) dan Mirza Pedju (The Nature Conservancy). Berita awalnya berasal dari Alexander S. Tanody (The Nature Conservancy, Savu Sea) yang memiliki kantor terdekat dengan tempat kejadian. 

 Foto @Yusuf Fajariyanto, TNC

Menurut Alexander, sekitar pukul 7 malam hari Senin, sebanyak 44 ekor paus pemandu sirip pendek terdampar di Desa Deme (Kec Liae, Kab Sabu Raijua). Pemerintah setempat langsung menuju lokasi. Pada pukul 4 pagi, empat ekor paus dapat dikembalikan ke laut, sedangkan banyak dari 40 ekor paus tersebut sudah mati. Paus tersebut memiliki panjang antara 2-9 m. Beberapa paus yang lain juga ditemukan di dekat tempat tersebut, total adalah 48 paus pemandu sirip pendek.

Banyak orang di Indonesia masih asing dengan kejadian terdampar. Selain itu, karena lokasi tersebut cukup terisolir, tingkat kematian paus yang tinggi tidaklah mengherankan. FYI, saya sempat menulis tips untuk menangani mamalia laut terdampar di sini (versi Indonesia dan versi Inggris).

Tentunya teman-teman saya kemudian menanyakan mengapa hal tersebut terjadi. Pertanyaan ini wajar, tapi tidak mudah dijawab. Saya tidak dapat mengesampingkan alasan patologis yang menyebabkan kejadian terdampar ini. Nekropsi perlu dilakukan untuk mengetahui apakah si hewan sakit dan karenanya terdampar. Berikut ini analisis kemungkinan penyebab kejadian tersebut.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A stranded whale database website for Indonesia is launched soon!

We have a rather busy stranding year this year, and not enough online information on how to handle stranded cetaceans. Oh yes, I did write about it here (English version and Indonesian version), but my daily hit is not big enough at the moment. There is also an acute misunderstanding among practitioners in Indonesia about why stranding events happen, e.g., many people think that whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) and whales are the same. Now and then, we would have whale sharks entangled in fishing nets in Indonesia... and the news would read ‘A big whale stranded in XX Beach’ instead of ‘a whale shark got entangled in fishing net in YY Village’ - And that is not the only misunderstanding we have!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Do we need to put a price in natural resources?

Matt Fox, a CI colleague of mine, forwarded me this Guardian article written by George Monbiot. The article got me thinking about the title of this post.  Do we need to put a price in natural resources? Also, why do we need to put such a price? Can’t we just leave the nature as it is? Two years ago, I would agree with Monbiot; putting a price on the rain and trees and the dolphins seems to be unnecessary at best, and pretentious at worst. I still understand his points though, he got the points alright.

I wish that the things are that easy, that all of us can truly live in harmony, in a Zen way, with nature. That most of us are well-connected with our highest plane of awareness, that we all understand and appreciate that every being on Earth – nay, on this Universe – is connected to each other. But sadly, that is often not the case. I am inclined to be okay with natural resource valuation (i.e., putting value on natural resource), as long as it’s within reason. But here’s the thing. I said ‘natural resource valuation’, not ‘natural resource pricing’. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Do we need MPAs to manage cetaceans in developing countries?

I remember one day, back when I was still working with WWF Indonesia, when I saw a cool map of Planet Earth with a tiny red speck on it. My then-supervisor, Dr Lida Pet Soede, explained that the little dot was the sum of all Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on Earth. Very very tiny, compared  to the vast ocean. I was very impressed. It was back in 2002 though. I’m sure the speck has grown considerably since then.

‘Marine Protected Area’ has been a hot term since the last decade. It seems like it’s a magic word that conservationists utter in an attempt to save a piece of landscape or seascape beauty. At one time, I almost thought that every ecologist/conservationist/environmental manager think of MPA as a panacea, a cure-all. I couldn’t help but wonder if it will also protect my cetaceans.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tips for new Indonesian scholars/students heading to Australia (or other developed countries)

 About two weeks ago, I was invited by AusAID Indonesia to give a talk to about 50 Indonesian scholars who would head to Australia in a few months’ time for their study under the AusAID awards schemes. I had fun with them, exchanging quite a lot of information and discussing many things, such that I think I should write down the main points of our discussions for future Indonesian scholars. 

Being a former student under the Australian Development Scholarship (Masters) and Australian Leadership Awards (PhD), I do have some tips to share. The tips particularly apply to studying in Australia, but I believe it is also applicable for studying in other developed countries (e.g. USA, UK, New Zealand, Canada and European countries). The tips are meant for general life as a student, and not as a pre-departure package (for that, contact your AusAID officer or other liaison officer). The tips are as follows:

Monday, August 6, 2012

My 2006 masters thesis on Lamalera whale hunting

I did my Masters by research at the James Cook University in Australia from mid 2003 to late 2005. It was a rather painful journey; I enjoyed it, but not as much as I enjoyed my PhD life. But still, it was the first time I totally enveloped myself in research once more after about six years of dormancy. And I learned a lot from it, particularly about the use of social qualitative research. The 'funny' thing was, when I was doing my undergraduate study, I snorted (yes, snorted!) at students reading sociology and anthropology. But after working in WWF Indonesia for six years and did two years of masters (most of it based on social qualitative research), nowadays I cannot imagine my life without my better understanding of qualitative research.

Panduan menyelamatkan mamalia laut terdampar

I wrote this post a few days ago on general guidelines to save stranded marine mammals. The tips were adopted from the Australian Whales Alive and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group web pages. It dawned on me yesterday that I better write the Indonesian version as well, so that non English speaking Indonesians can apply the guidelines faster (without having to reach for the dictionary at times...). So here's the guideline in Indonesian language:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My PhD research at the plenary of ICRS 2012

I was very lucky to have attended the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium last July. I went in my capacity as a Conservation International Indonesia staff. There, I had a rare and very precious opportunity to have my PhD research in Lovina featured in one of the plenary sessions. I wasn't the speaker - no, my journey is still looong and (perhaps, hopefully not) winding before I ever get to that stage (if ever!). The gratitude goes to Prof Helene Marsh for including several of my exit seminar slides in the morning plenary session of Thursday, 12 July 2012. Her talk was titled 'Conserving Coral Reef Megafauna: Issues of Ecological Process, Biodiversity, Cultural Diversity and Food Security'. It was a very interesting talk that featured not only the Lovina dolphins, but also the governance of the Great Barrier Reef's dwarf minke whales (Sobtzick et al.), the economics of Palau sharks (Vianna et al.), and the dugongs of Torres Strait (Grech et al.), among others. Click here for Helene's talk.

Scroll the main menu of the ICRS 2012 to see a collection of PPT presentations of plenary talks. I suggest you also see Prof Geoffrey Jones' presentation of Nemo's journey (yes, that cute anemonefish!) throughout several reef clusters at Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea. His talk was aptly titled 'Mission Impossible: Unlocking the secrets of where coral reef fish babies go', and it got me glued to the end. Click here for Geoff's talk.

Stranded marine mammal rescue guidelines

Indonesia has been experiencing many cetacean stranding events lately that I think a post on how to rescue stranded cetaceans might be useful. I adopt and modify the list from the Australian Whales Alive and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group web pages.

Stranded whales: National Geographic Indonesia & Raffles Bulletin of Zoology

I wrote a collaborative paper back in 2009 on stranded cetaceans in Indonesia, triggered by a stranded humpback whale in Bali (the presence of humpback whales in the Archipelago were previously thought to be a myth). The paper was my first paper in every real sense, so the editors had slight (!) difficulties in shaping it to a decent published form. But, after so many agonizing months, it was published in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. And, boy oh boy, was I so proud of it!

Mustika, P. L. K., Hutasoit, P., Madusari, C. C., Purnomo, F. S., Setiawan, A., Tjandra, K. & Prabowo, W. E. 2009, 'Whale strandings in Indonesia, including the first record of a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Archipelago', The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 199-206.

Below is the abstract of that 2009 paper:

What do the tourists think of dolphin watching in Lovina?

I happen to be a Balinese. Yet, despite Bali being a touristic island, I always wondered why I wasn't interested in learning about tourism. Perhaps I am fed up with the hustles and bustles of tourism in Bali, particularly in south Bali. But when faced with the chaos that is Lovina, I realised that I would not be able to solve anything if I refuse to understand what tourism is. Or to that extent, what the tourists think and do, regarding the dolphin watching industry in Lovina.

So here's the second paper that I published from my PhD, discussing what the tourists think of dolphin watching in Lovina.

Mustika, P. L. K., Birtles, A., Everingham, Y. & Marsh, H. 2012, 'The human dimensions of wildlife tourism in a developing country: watching spinner dolphins at Lovina, Bali, Indonesia', Journal of Sustainable Tourism,   pp. 1-23.

How much does the Lovina dolphin watching industry worth?

Okay, first of all, I'm not an economist. Heck, I even made a big elementary mistake that will guarantee a life time ridicule at my naivette (or stupidity?), particularly from a particular economist-turned-life-partner of mine. But still, I could not revisit the past and recollect the data, can I? All I can do is humbly accept the mistake and commit myself of not repeating it again. Which I solemnly swear.

Nonetheless, the Universe worked Its magic, and here's my first PhD paper on the economics of Lovina.

Mustika, P. L. K., Birtles, A., Welters, R. & Marsh, H. 2012, 'The economic influence of community-based dolphin watching on a local economy in a developing country: Implications for conservation', Ecological Economics, vol. 79, no. 0, pp. 11-20.

My PhD abstract

The following is the abstract of my PhD project, titled 'Towards Sustainable Dolphin Watching Tourism in Lovina, Bali, Indonesia'. Anyone interested in the PDF copy of my thesis, do email me. I owe my gratitude to many people, but notable among them are Prof Helene Marsh and Dr Alastair Birtles from James Cook University. Dr Mark Hamann and Dr Riccardo Welters also lent huge help during the last lag of my thesis.

Mustika, P. L. K. 2011, 'Towards Sustainable Dolphin Watching Tourism in Lovina, Bali, Indonesia (unpublished thesis)', James Cook University.

'Towards Sustainable Dolphin Watching Tourism in Lovina, Bali, Indonesia'
by Putu Liza Kusuma Mustika
James Cook University
Townsville - Australia

This research studied dolphin watching in Lovina, North Bali, Indonesia in the theoretical context of quadruple bottomline sustainability and the prism of sustainability to investigate the biological, social, economic and managerial elements of the sustainability of the industry.

First post, ahoy!

My name is Putu Liza Kusuma Mustika, but my 'pet name' is Icha. I've always wanted to make a website that clearly declares my professional interest, as well as past, current and future projects that I did/do/want to do. It struck me tonight that if I just don't 'pick up the pen and write it', nothing will ever happen.

So this is my first post, declaring to the Benign and Benevolent Universe, my intention to stay rooted to my passion, my heart calling as some people say, and that is to become a multi-disciplinary cetologist, or a whale and dolphin scientist.