Kamis, 18 Juni 2009

Dayak Diet Caused Orangutan Extinct in Malinau

Mohamad Rayan. Malinau.

Dayak eats orangutan! Sure, who said that i questioned him. He answered i tell you the story.

Marcus and i had been in the field in Malinau for nearly 6 weeks. This is the first time we heard that Dayak eats orangutan. Our catch phrase before was "Punan eats everything". Dayak Punan stated to us that they eat every animals in their forest near Bintang mountain in Malinau. And we realized that there was no orangutan near Malinau city even Malinau district.

When we asked the questions what do they hunt for? The Punan Dayak in Punan Setarap village answered: bores, deer, bear, anteaters, porcupine etc. And then we asked do you eat monkeys. The answer yes, we eats monkeys. Wow, we said, interesting. It tasted ok. Yes.

Well, questioning Dayak community on the issue of what they hunt, how they gets their protein, it was always a suprise coming from the answers. The Punan Dayak is the most extreme on this habit of consuming animals. Kenyah people also revealed they enjoyed most of the animals in the forest, but the Kenyah are now more connected to the community and the development symbolized with the regent is from Dayak Kenyah line.

Kenyah, Lun Dayeh, Brusu, Long Alango etc consume most of the animals in the forest. They also do a lot fishing inside the forest in the creeks inside the forest with crystal clear water. With the clear water, it is easier for them to catch and fish the fish in the river.

This topic does have a big question to be answered, why was the orangutan disappeared from Malinau. Well, according to reports and ground check in community they have known, may be some of them tasted the meat of orangutan. So is it the dayak diet cauased the extinction of orangutan in Malinau? Or is it the disappearing forest of malinau? Or is it the topography of Malinau, which is hilly and mountainous.

The current orangutan population according to the directorate general for forest protection and nature conservation is believed to be 61,234, according to data from the directorate general. Most are found in the forests of Borneo (54,567), with the remainder in Sumatra (6,667). In Borneo, orangutans are found in East Kalimantan (4,825), Central Kalimantan (31,300), West Kalimantan including the neighboring Malaysian state of Sarawak (7,425) and the Malaysian state of Sabah (11,017). In Sumatra, orangutans are found in Seulawah (43), West Central Aceh (103), East Central Aceh (337), West Leuser (2,508), Sidiangkat (134), East Leyser (1,042), Tripa Swamp (280), Trumon-Singkil (1,500), East Rawa Singkil (160), West Batang Toru (400) and East Sarulla (150).

Kalimantan has been studied, surveyed and travelled by local scientists or international expert since 1800s. However, there was no study or firmed answer why there is no orangutan in Malinau. However, it was reported that a study suggested in Serawak, 10.000 years ago, it was found in the cave in Serawak bones of orangutan had been consumed by the human. It was also reported that the pigs is the most frequent animals eaten by homo sapiens. The book was written by Leobert E M De Boer in 1982. The title is The Orangutan, Its Biology and Conservation.

So in the question of is it the diet of Dayak caused the extinction of Orangutan, the answer could be yes. Iban tribe in Serawak, had the culture that is taboo to eat orangutan, then they still have the population of orangutan. So it could be the culture of eating orangutan causing the extinction of orangutan in Malinau.

In Aceh conflicts, there were a lot of orangutans are got shot intentionally or unintentionally, yet they still survived. So human conflicts or conflicts human and primate did not caused the extinction.

Climate is not possible causing the extinction of orangutan as proved by the finding of Black Orangutan in Sangkurilang in East Kalimantan."So yes, finding a population that science did not know about is significant, especially one of this size," Birute Mary Galdikas, a Canadian scientist said, noting that those found on the eastern part of the island represent a rare subspecies, the black Borneon orangutan, or Pongo pygmaeus morio.

The 700-square mile (2,500-square kilometer) jungle escaped the massive fires that devastated almost all of the surrounding forests in the late 1990s. The blazes were set by plantation owners and small-scale farmers and exacerbated by the El Nino droughts.Nardiyono, who headed The Nature Conservancy's weeklong survey in December, said "it could be the density is very high because after the fires, the orangutans all flocked to one small area" as reported in The Jakarta Post 14 April 2009. The area is high in the mountain near Sangkurilang, East Kalimantan. The finding also approved that temperature and topography of the area do not caused the extinction.

The post also reported that there are an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 90 percent of them in Indonesia and the rest in neighboring Malaysia.The countries are the world's top producers of palm oil, used in food, cosmetics and to meet growing demands for "clean-burning" fuels in the U.S. and Europe. Rain forests, where the solitary animals spend almost all of their time, have been clear-cut and burned at alarming rates to make way for lucrative palm oil plantations.

The explanation of vegetation in Malinau caused the disappering of orangutan. It could not be used because the existence of orangutan in Kutai where they have same lowland as in Malinau lowland, there exists orangutan. However this opinion is being rejected by Toni Suhartono, director of biological diversity conservation at the Forestry Ministry. According to him that the habitat loss due to forest destruction was the main cause of the reduction in the numbers of orangutans, compounded by less significant factors such as human-animal conflicts as reported on The Jakarta Post 13 April 2009.

For orangutan experts, the cause of the extinction in the past, present and future is clear cut. “The last strong-holds of Asia’s only great ape are being devastated by loggers and plantation owners, many of whom are acting illegally and out of sheer greed. We as consumers bear some responsibility for that”says Faith Doherty, a senior campaigner for the UK-based environmental investigation Agency (EIA) in Daily Express on 28 May 2009.

So back to the beginning of the story, the statement "Dayak eats orangutan" was made by one of the officer working in Kayan Mentarang National Park (KMNP). He told us that they had a program of moving back orangutan to Malinau. The two places targeted was Rian Tubu, South West of Malinau city and in Long Alango, in the west of Malinau City.

After further study and discussion, they choosed Long Alango forest inside Kayan Mentarang National Park. However, to double check, the team from KMNP asked the community in Long Alango village for their opinion. And during that discussion, some of the community disagreed with the program by saying that they used to be orangutan in the area, then they were extinct becaused most of them were hunted and consumed. It became well sought and people competed hunting for them. At the end it can caused the conflict inside the community.

Based on that, they rejected the program of re-introduction of orangutan in Long Alango. The community beleives that the reintroduction of orangutan will make people competed again for the meat of orangutan. This will cause conflict and disharmony in the community. At the end the KMNP team decided to drop the program. That was the story told by Pak Bisnu, an official in KMNP. I beleive this is the reason why the animal extinct in Malinau. Dayak's diet caused the extinction of orangutan in Malinau or in Kalimantan in the future as one of the main factor.

On the brighter note the govenment had prepared programs to save the fate of orangutan. They include conservation education, research on sustainable orangutan conservation, improving cooperation with environmental groups, setting up a forum to monitor enforcement of regulations, arranging a logging schedule in orangutan habitat, issuing a law against mining in habitat areas, law enforcement and patrols against poachers as reported by The Jakarta Post 13 June 2008. All will be completed in 2017. It sounds good. We also hope it turns out to be good.

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