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.