Fidelis Green Blog

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July 2016

Sumatran Tiger Castoffs May Hold Key To Survival of Species

Fidelis E. Satriastanti

Cisarua, Bogor. Behind an unassuming gate, marked simply with a “Staff Only” sign, deep inside the Taman Safari Indonesia conservation park, lies the best chance for the continued survival of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger.

This is the Sumatran Tiger Breeding Facility, set up in 1992 and now home to 22 “troubled” tigers — those that have been trapped by poachers or villagers, those that have preyed on livestock and those believed to have killed and eaten humans.

Each of the 11 male and 11 female tigers here have their own harrowing history. Two of them, Salamah and Ara, female juveniles caught in boar traps set by villagers inside palm oil plantations in Aceh, had to have a paw amputated because of the seriousness of their injuries. Though accused of being man-eaters, the accusation has never been proven. At the park, they are affectionately referred to as “tripods.”

Meet Ara, a female tiger which right leg cut off after trapped in a snare. She will never be released in the wild and have to live in cage. (Photo by Fidelis Green Blog). 


The latest addition is Tupan, an 8-year-old male who was brought to the facility on the verge of death.

Like many of the others, he was caught in a trap in his natural habitat after spooking villagers with his frequent encroachments into their area. When wildlife authorities reached him, they found he had been shot twice several days before being captured.

Following intensive treatment, he has made a full physical recovery.

“Most of the tigers that we keep here are disabled to some extent,” Retno Sudarwati, a senior veterinarian at the park, tells the Jakarta Globe.

“We have three-legged tigers, tigers who have had their tails lopped off, even toothless tigers. They need to be in peak physical condition to survive in the wild, so can you imagine them going after prey on just three legs? They wouldn’t survive long out there.”

Health, Hygiene, Happiness

Each tiger gets its own cage here, furnished with a log that they can sharpen their claws on, a hammock where they usually nap and a small pond to drink from. They also get an adjoining outdoor play cage and another cage where the keepers feed them.

The park also has a breeding facility that the tigers take turns occupying. Unlike their home cages, the “Rumah Batak” breeding facility is open to visitors.

“I know it’s not the kind of sophisticated facility that you’d probably imagine, but we do pay serious attention to the cleanliness of the cages and the tigers’ health.” Retno said.

“We keep detailed records of each and every one of them. If they exhibit the slightest issue, the keepers are obliged to inform us.”

Careful Calculation

The tiger facility is not just about saving maimed or threatened individuals. Its mission is far more important: to ensure the continued existence of the species by creating a genetically diverse gene pool from the animals it hosts, as well as those held at every zoo in the country.

“It’s not just about putting a male and a female tiger together in a cage and expecting them to mate, nor is it about producing a set number of cubs.” Retno said. “It doesn’t work that way. Each tiger is paired off with the best candidate. It takes a lot of careful calculation to ensure the purity of the gene pool.”

For example, Tupan would never be mated with Lintang, a female adult, because their bloodlines are too similar.

Instead, he would be paired off with females like Tina or Jenaka to produce an entirely new bloodline.

“The bottom line is that we want to make their bloodlines as varied as possible,” Retno said. “We want to make sure that over the next five years, we can prevent inbreeding as much as possible.”

To that end, the facility has compiled a stud book — a registry of the known parentage of all the tigers ever tagged in the country, whether in the wild or in captivity. This allows scientists at the park to work out which individuals are best suited for pairing to ensure a diverse gene pool.

Sperm Bank

Though painstakingly clinical, putting together the stud book is the basis for making sure that no matter what happens to the wild population of the species, there will always be enough variety in the genetic resources available to sustain the species.

That means collecting sperm from all the tigers held in captivity in the country since 1995. All that sperm, which makes up the Sumatran Tiger Genome Resource Bank, is stored at the park in containers kept at a frosty minus 180 degrees Celsius.

“This sperm bank is the stock, just in case something happens, we still have their sperm,” Retno said.

However, she points out that regenerating the species simply from the stored sperm is something the park does not yet have the technology to do.

“We’re still developing the technology to make use of this resource, so we’re getting there,” she said.

The Sumatran tiger is one of five remaining tiger subspecies in the world, and is also the most threatened, with only 400 individuals believed to be remaining in the wild. Categorized as critically endangered, it is just a step away from being extinct in the wild.

It is the only tiger left that is endemic to Indonesia. Two other subspecies, the Javan tiger and the Balinese tiger, were driven to extinction in the 1930s and 1980s, a fate that Retno and her team at Taman Safari do not want to see befall the Sumatran tiger.

“This facility here is our backup. If we could turn back time and breed the other two species the same way, we might still have them today,” she said.

The irony that the fate of the Sumatran tiger rests with a handful of individuals deemed most threatening to humans or unfit to survive in the wild is not lost on Retno.

“These animals are rare and precious individuals,” she said. “We can’t just kill them because they’re man-eaters or maimed, but we can make the most of them as a valuable resource in our conservation efforts.” END.

The article is an archive. It was first published at Jakarta Globe, on September 2011.






Indonesia study disputes UN data on peat fire emissions

Speed read

  • Emissions data in new study taken from sites on Central Kalimantan peat fires
  • On-site sampling used spectroscopy that can identify up to 90 gases in smoke
  • Researchers hope their findings can correct IPCC data based on peat modelling

[JAKARTA] A joint research of Indonesian and US scientists shows that peat fires in Central Kalimantan in Indonesia released less carbon dioxidethan projected by UN climate experts but discharged more potentially hazardous gases.

The research, led by scientists from the Bogor Agricultural University, Palangka Raya University, Central Kalimantan and Kapuas administrations, Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, and the South Dakota State University and Montana University, was funded by NASA after massive peat fires struck the province in 2015.

“These gases are as important as methane and carbon dioxide…they can be harmful to people, especially pregnant women.”

Bambang Hero Saharjo, Bogor Agricultural University

Influenced by a strong El Niño, the peat fires deteriorated air quality to ten times the “very dangerous” threshold.

According to the research study published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics journal, the carbon dioxide released was eight per cent less than the emission factordata by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which took samples of peat in Sumatra island and burned it in lab unlike the new study which took actual burned peats from the field. In 2003, scientists didn’t yet understand that the two sampling methods would make a difference. Methane release was also 55 per cent less than the IPCC emission factor data.

“The results, if compared with IPCC data, showed a significant gap so we are hoping that [the IPCC data] can be considered to be corrected,” says Bambang Hero Saharjo, a co-author of the study and lead scientist at Bogor Agricultural University.

Saharjo says they used a device called the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy that is designed to collect smoke samples and identify up to 90 gases straight from the burned location.

“We collected smoke samples in Pulang Pisau district in Central Kalimantan. It was the same site President Jokowi visited to survey canal blockings,” he says. “The spectroscopy could immediately read and identify the gases in real time. We also collected soil samples from the burned location.”

“With the current study, Indonesia’s carbon emissions would be 19 per cent less than previously stated,” he says, adding it would be crucial to correct the country’s status as the world’s third largest carbon emitter because of forest and peat fires.

The study also picked up other gases related to ozone depletion as well ashealth risks, which are mostly unaccounted for when measuring greenhouse gas emissions. These major gas-phase air toxics and carcinogens include hydrogen, cyanide, formaldehyde, acrolein, acetamide, BTEX, crotonaldehyde and 1,3-butadiene.

“These gases are as important as methane and carbon dioxide,” says Saharjo. “Because if the air is polluted and contaminated, they can be harmful to people, especially pregnant women.”

Kirsfianti Linda Ginoga, director of greenhouse gas monitoring at Indonesia’s environment and forestry ministry, says the study would serve as a valuable input in determining Indonesia’s emission levels using different methods rather than just relying on hotspots from satellite images.

Emma Rachmawaty, director of climate change mitigation at the same ministry, adds it would be better if the results of the study can be included in the IPCC emission factor database to serve as reference for other nations with the same peat characteristics as Indonesia.

This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s South-East Asia & Pacific desk.


Chelsea E. Stockwell and others Field measurements of trace gases and aerosols emitted by peat fires in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia during the 2015 El Niño (Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 17 June 2016)

Minister Siti cancelled agreement with pulp and paper giant over irregularities of procedure

Indonesia’s Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya is clearly not impressed to learn that a pulp and paper giant signed on cooperation, then distributed a press release, between the company and the ministry’s conservation agency behind her back.

Apparently, Minister Siti was taken aback over press release from the company, which namesake is the fourth month of the year, claiming that it will working together with the ministry for Zamrud National Park, the newly inaugurated conservation area.

The press release, distributed on July 21, in conjunction with World Environment Day in Siak District of Riau (also with the agenda of presenting Adipura and Kalpataru awards) was immediately denied by the minister, four days after.

Apart from failed-to-mention-to-boss and forgot-to-cc-the-boss-before-the-press-release, the ministry also disputed on the procedures of the agreement. Or, in its official release, stated that there were irregularities.

“We have already issued official cancellation of the agreement, today, Monday (July 25). The agreement is not consistent with certain legal aspects and contain irregularities,” said ministry’s secretary, Bambang Hendroyono, in a press release, adding that the ministry regretted the claim by the company and had denied any knowledge on the issue.

Another aspect, Hendroyono said that the ministry disagreed with the company’s landscape conservation concept which claimed that the protected forest and conservation areas as their conservation landscape. Or, put simply, the ministry is rage over the fact that the company had claimed conservation areas as part of its business interest.

Director General of Planology, San Afri Awang, has stressed that “the agreement violates all of good forestry governance principles and environmental spatial planning. The agreement was un-procedural and disregarded the laws.”

Now, how’s that for a quote.

A new chapter of this company versus government. I am all ears if there’s any un-procedural steps but let’s just how far they’d want to reveal it. Or, is it just another ‘kiss and make up’?! I’d love to see how this ends….

The 2016 Indonesia’s Green Heroes

Okay, so this is not the World Cup, but, it is the highest award given to individuals and cities who have given their best in preserving the environment in Indonesia.

Adipura, awarded to green cities, is one of the most prestige award for cities/districts in the country. It’s sorta life and death matters for its residents because it serves as proof that they are keeping their cities clean.

Kalptaru, awarded to individuals or groups, who has been dedicating her/his life to preserve the environment, might it be forestry or waste management. Receiving the award also means that it would give a proportional spotlight for these green heroes and support their efforts.

Adiwiyata, awarded to schools, aim to introduce green living in early stages of education, starting from elementary, junior high and senior high schools. It’s less media attention but it does provide extra confident for school students that they’re going to change the world/ (And, YES I DO ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE THAT THEY CAN AND WILL CHANGE THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER, BETTER THAN OLD ONES!).

Adipura trophies

The Awards were presented by Vice President Jusuf Kalla at the peak of World Environment Day 2016 held in Siak district of Riau, accompanied by Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya.

Without further ado, here are the winners :


No District/City Trophy
1 Surabaya city Adipura Paripurna*
2 Balikpapan city Adipura Paripurna
3 Tulungagung district Adipura Paripurna

* Adipura Paripurna is the highest award given to cities and districts.

No District/City  Trophy
1 Tangerang city Adipura Kirana
2 Semarang city Adipura Kirana
3 Palembang city Adipura Kirana
4 Bandung city Adipura Kirana
5 Makassar city Adipura Kirana
6 Central Jakarta city Adipura Kirana
7 Malang city Adipura Kirana
8 Cimahi city Adipura Kirana
9 Banjarmasin city Adipura Kirana
10 Denpasar city Adipura Kirana
11 Jambi city Adipura Kirana
12 Surakarta city Adipura Kirana
13 Madiun city Adipura Kirana
14 Jombang district Adipura Kirana
15 Pasuruan city Adipura Buana
16 Bukittinggi city Adipura Kirana
17 Banyumas district Adipura Kirana
18 Sidoarjo district Adipura Kirana
19 Sukabumi city Adipura Buana
20 Magelang city Adipura Kirana
21 Payakumbuh city Adipura Buana
22 Probolinggo city Adipura Kirana
23 Ambon city Adipura Buana
24 Kendari city Adipura Buana
25 Banyuwangi district Adipura Buana
26 Lahat district Adipura Buana
27 Bau-Bau city Adipura Buana
28 Jayapura city Adipura Kirana
29 Blitar city Adipura Buana
30 Mojokerto city Adipura Kirana
31 Karimun ditsrict Adipura Kirana
32 Kudus district Adipura Kirana
33 Tebing Tinggi city Adipura Buana
34 Banda Aceh city Adipura Kirana
35 Tanjung Pinang city Adipura Buana
36 Banjarbaru city Adipura Kirana
37 Salatiga city Adipura Kirana
38 Jepara district Adipura Kirana
39 Bontang city Adipura Kirana
40 Pematang Siantar city Adipura Buana
41 Gorontalo city Adipura Kirana
42 Pare-Pare city Adipura Kirana
43 Bitung city Adipura Buana
44 Pati district Adipura Buana
45 Lamongan district Adipura Kirana
46 Banjar district Adipura Kirana
47 Nganjuk district Adipura Buana
48 Prabumulih city Adipura Kirana
49 Waringin Barat city district Adipura Buana
50 Bintan district Adipura Buana
51 Kotamobagu city Adipura Buana
52 Deli Serdang district Adipura Buana
53 Bojonegoro district Adipura Kirana
54 Hulu Sungai Tengah district Adipura Buana
55 Biak Numfor district Adipura Buana
56 Mojokerto district Adipura Buana
57 Pagar Alam city Adipura Buana
58 Musi Banyu Asin district Adipura Buana
59 Padang Panjang city Adipura Buana
60 Tabanan district Adipura Buana
61 Pacitan district Adipura Buana
62 Indramayu district Adipura Buana
63 Maros district Adipura Buana
64 Langkat district Adipura Buana
65 Ciamis district Adipura Kirana
66 Tanjung Balai city Adipura Buana
67 Muara Enim district Adipura Buana
68 Bulukumba district Adipura Buana
69 Sragen district Adipura Buana
70 Tabalong district Adipura Buana
71 Madiun district Adipura Buana
72 Tapin district Adipura Buana
73 Hulu Sungai Selatan district Adipura Buana
74 Bangli district Adipura Buana
75 Malang district Adipura Kirana
76 Tuban district Adipura Kirana
77 Merangin district Adipura Buana
78 Siak district Adipura Buana
79 Sukoharjo district Adipura Kirana
80 Kepulauan Sangihe district Adipura Buana
81 Tidore Kepulauan district Adipura Buana
82 Banjar city Adipura Kirana
83 Pinrang district Adipura Buana
84 Sumenep district Adipura Buana
85 Karangasem district Adipura Buana
86 Wonogiri district Adipura Buana
87 Panajam Paser Utara district Adipura Buana
88 Konawe district Adipura Buana
89 Temanggung district Adipura Buana
90 Kolaka Utara district Adipura Buana
91 Pasuruan district Adipura Buana
92 Boyolali district Adipura Buana
93 Bantaeng district Adipura Buana
94 Buleleng district Adipura Buana
95 Blora district Adipura Buana
96 Langsa city Adipura Buana


Environmental Pioneers :

1. Mbah Sadiman of Dali hamlet, Wonogir district, Central Java province.
2. dr. Gamal Albinsaid of Malang city, East Java province.

Environmental Stewards :

1. Yohanes Wambrauw of Biak Numfor district, Papua province.
2. Jasman, S.Ag of Solok district, North Sumatra province.
3. Neneng Anengsih of Buleleng district, Bali province.

Environmental Saviors :

1. Wonga Mengi Farmers of Ende district, East Nusa Tenggara province.

2. Yohasap Paririe of Yapen Island district of Papua province.

3. Alam Sehat Lestari Foundation of North Kayong district, West Kalimantan province.

Environmental Coaches : :

1. Moh. Shokib Garno Sunarno of Kudus district, Central Java province.
2. TGH. Hasanain Juaini LC, MH of West Lombok district, West Nusa Tenggara province.


  1. State Primary School17 Pemecutan, Bali
  2. State Junior High School 2 Bandung, West Java
  3. State Primary School Tanah Tinggi 1,Banten
  4. State High School 1 Demak, Central Java
  5. State Junior High School 1 Pandak,D.I Yogyakarta
  6. State Junior High School 7,East Java
  7. Primary School Tarakanita 3,DKI. Jakarta
  8. State Primary School Jawa 2 Martapura,South Kalimantan
  9. State Primary School 013 Balikpapan Selatan,East Kalimantan
  10. State High School 1 Sampit,Central Kalimantan
  11. State Junior High School 1 Nunukan,North Kalimantan
  12. State Junior High School 1 Jayapura,Papua
  13. MTsN Ma’rang,South Sulawesi
  14. State Junior High School 1 Marisa,Gorontalo
  15. State Junior High School 1 Kendari,Southeast Sulawesi
  16. State High School 3 Palu,Central Sulawesi
  17. State High School 1 Matauli Pandan,North Sumatera
  18. State High School 1 Lubuklinggau,South Sumatera
  19. Primary Schools Semen Padang 1 and 2,West Sumatera
  20. State High School 4,Bengkulu
  21. State Junior High School 6 Kandis,Riau
  22. State Junior High School 4,Jambi
  23. State Junior High School 2,Bangka Belitung Island

How To Avoid Oil Palm Ban

Indonesia Progress With Oil Palm Ban

To tackle with forest and land forests, and obviously mounting pressures over Indonesia’s way of managing its natural resources, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo declared a moratorium on oil palm plantation expansions.

(source :

A very bold movement considering that expansions have been preferred for this commodity. Mostly under the argument that Indonesia needs to keep up with Malaysia to snatch that World’s Number 1 Palm Oil Exporter. Also, the country is supposedly to have hundreds of million hectares of forest areas (which is urban legend because we’re basically down to 80 million hectares. Yikes!).

However, The Man has spoken! So, let the devils out! Excuse the pun, I mean the details. So, which ones are making the cut, how much is it, what about the others? And, how will business people consider this? The latter, I assume would be lots of denials.

Back to details! Ministry of Environment and Forestry, as the ‘owner’ of the forests, I mean which has the rights to issue permits on forestry, came with lots of numbers. Yep, they really love their data.

On Monday, Ministry’s Director of Planology San Afri Awang threw an-on-time-for-once press conference (I was taken aback, seriously).

San Afri Awang2

He announced a total of 950,000 hectares were in ‘waiting list’ in his department for forest release permits. Just a bit of explanation, before you open oil palm plantation, you need to obtain forest release permit, then governor and local district head permits, then you need to do inventory, then …. Sorry, I got lost.

ANYWHO! Long story short, Environment and Forestry Ministry got the final say. And, it says 950,000 hectares will be the first batch of the moratorium. Up to date, there’s a potential 3.5 million hectares of areas to be included in the moratorium. Well, that would trigger fires, alright…. No pun intended.

At the press conference, Pak San Afri also stated that 60 companies obtained expansions permits in Papua and West Papua provinces would be reviewed as they were not doing anything aka planting oil palm.

To avoid your areas being included in the oil palm moratorium, Pak San Afri said there are requirements :

  1. Forest release permits obtained in accordance to the regulations.
  2. No indication of rights transfer to other parties.
  3. Existing permits but not productive lands, such as bushes, shrubs, or barren lands.
  4. Not located inside conservation areas.
  5. Not on ‘Waiting List’ for forest permit release.

It is suffice to say it would be not a great time to request for expansions to the ministry until 2021. And, I would recommended to immediately working on your plantations before the government included it in the moratorium.

The presidential instruction on the moratorium is expected to be finalized and ready to be signed by August. One last coordination meeting is scheduled in two weeks, between 12 institutions, — Coordinating Ministry for Economics, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Agrarian and Spatial Planning, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Villages, Rural Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration,  Information and Geospatial Agency, Investment Coordinating Board, governors, and local districts.

Let’s see if the numbers and criteria are still ‘intact’ 🙂













Asia’s Almost Famous Animals

Top (left – right) :  Agile gibbon, Red-shanked douc.  Middle : Asian Tapir. Bottom (left-right) : Gurney’s Pitta, Saola. (photos :

Rhino, tiger, orangutan, and elephant are among notably famous species in Indonesia, ironically, for their status as endangered and rare animals. Most of conservation campaigns focusing on these umbrella species which could mean that preserving them would create domino effect to the environment, in general.

Nevertheless,, a website dedicated for conservation, pushed out a different argument that ‘other’ species which are less known or familiar should be given attention before they are completely gone (without us knowing it).

The series on Asia’s Almost Famous Animals will be published on the website from July to the end of this year.

Here are some of the animals we have yet to familiarized but under constant threats :

  • Gibbons known also as Lesser Apes for its size
  • Langur known as the most beautiful of monkey
  • Loris
  • Pangolin
  • Asian Tapir
  • Wild Yak
  • Saola
  • Yangtze finless porpoise
  •  Red-crowned Roof turtle
  • Indonesian panged frog
  • Gurney’s Pitta
  • Asian Arowana fish


Read full article : Unknown, ignored and disappearing: Asia’s Almost Famous Animals















Thousands of activists show support to end exploitation of oil palm workers

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