And welcome to Selamatkan Yaki (“Save Sulawesi crested black macaques”). Check out the other pages for info about this exciting and much needed conservation programme.
Just over a week ago Sulawesi, the “Land of smiling people”, was graced with my sweaty, yet excited presence. I initially spent some time at the fantastic primate rescue centre Ciapus in Bogor, West Java run by International Animal Rescue. Now, over a week in the capital city Manado and it has been a little crazy as I find my feet. I have been meeting with stakeholders, eating, organising finances and admin, eating, developing the strategy for the year, and, well eating. I have found a very nice room and have been dining with ambassadors, government officials and mayors of the region (seems we have friends in high places here in Northern Sulawesi!).
Manado has so far won me over; I am swept up in its alluring sights, sounds, smells (not all!) and smiling people. I have had a warm albeit sometimes erratic greeting from various charming locals and have seen some of the stunning surrounding regions already (see lovely green lake Sinow!). Sulawesi is home to incredible and unique biodiversity, with a quarter of its bird species and almost two thirds of it’s mammal species being endemic (only found here!) the highest endemism in Indonesia! The Northern region is known as one of the best dive sites in the world, so I am rather pleased at the prospect of plunging myself into the colourful world of the deep and see me some critters next weekend.
As I settle I realise how pleased I am to be here, and how keen I am to make the most of this year and commit to driving this project forward. It is an extremely important cause that urgently needs addressing. By building on the excellent work of the team last year, I will do my utmost to maximise our efforts and gain the international and national support we need to help protect these charasmatic primates and their dwindling habitat.
Until we meet again…. sampai jumpa!