Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sousa chinensis mum and baby: Another bycatch from Paloh

The female Sousa chinensis by-caught in Paloh, pic by Taufik

17 February 2014

Februanty Purnomo and I were packing our stuff for one night overnight at Temajuk by the border of Sarawak when Dwi Suprapti, DVM rushed in, declaring that a fisher just caught a dolphin in a village nearby. We dropped our overnight stuff, grabbed our GPS, camera and note book, and drove out to Guntung, about 20 min drive south from the WWF Paloh basecamp where we had been staying since last Saturday.

We arrived about an hour too late, apparently, for when we arrived there, the dolphin had been cleanly dissected by the locals for personal consumption, leaving only about 30x30x30 chunk of meat in whitish skin on the ground. Thanks to technology tho, even fishers nowadays have smartphones. One of them produced his Blackberry and showed us the picture of the dolphin. As I suspected from the white skin, it was a Sousa chinensis (Indo Pacific humpback dolphin).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How to dispose of dead stranded whales?

Ini adalah versi bahasa Inggris dari artikel tentang cara membuang bangkai paus yang sudah mati. Klik tautan ini untuk versi bahasa Indonesia-nya.

The sperm whale stranded at Central Sulawesi on 4 Feb. Source: local govt of Central Sulawesi

Well, actually not only whales, but also dolphins, porpoises, dugongs. In general, the question of what to do with dead stranded marine mammals is a frequently received question, particularly since a few days ago when a 18m sperm whale stranded at Morowali Beach, Central Sulawesi. Naturally, dealing with small cetaceans and dugongs is easier than trying to dispose of a whale, as you would read below. But let’s start from the beginning.

Bagaimana cara membuang bangkai paus yang mati?

This is the Indonesian version of an article on dead whale carcass disposal. Click this link for the English version. 

Sperm whale yang terdampar tgl 4 Feb yang lalu, SatuSulteng

Artikel ini sebenarnya sih tidak hanya untuk bangkai paus saja, tapi juga untuk lumba-lumba dan dugong. Secara umum pertanyaan ini sering terlontarkan, terutama dalam beberapa hari ini sejak seekor paus sperma berukuran 18m  terdampar di Pantai Morowali, Sulawesi Tengah. Memang wajar jika penanganan cetacean kecil (seperti lumba-lumba) dan dugong lebih mudah dibandingkan berusaha menyingkirkan paus yang sudah mati. Tapi mari kita mulai dari awal.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A friend is now with the stars...

The late Creusa "Tetha" Hitipeuw

A friend commented recently that I was (or, well, am) the first cetologist in Indonesia. Native cetologist, at least. It might be true. But I realise now, it might not happen without the sheer inspiration of a person who is not with us anymore on this planet.

The said person was Creusa “Tetha” Hitipeuw, an Indonesian sea turtle expert who for almost two decades worked with WWF Indonesia before her departure a few days before Christmas 2013. This post is dedicated to Tetha Hitipeuw, my old colleague back when I was still working at WWF from 1997 to 2003, a woman so strong and determined that her departure left a big hole in the hearts of us conservationists in this country. This post is more than a month’s late, about 40 days actually. The Javanese believe that once departed, a soul will still linger around on this plane of existence for 40 days to say thank you and goodbye to family and friends. Tetha’s 40 days was on the 31st of January, just as the Year of the Snake ended and the Year of the Horse started. Better be late than never; I think this obituary post is still worth it.