CONSERVATION IN INDONESIA
The eyes of the world have recently been focused on Indonesia’s forests, burning in what seems a premature apocalypse, with Nature’s bounty going up in a poof of oily smoke. Studies have found that there is a strong connection between forest cover and coral reef health – healthy forests contribute to water quality in the sea as a result of decreased run-off. However, efforts are now being made to try and protect the seas surrounding this arboreal Armageddon.
In October 2015, West Papua declared itself a “conservation province”, establishing a legal framework for conservation efforts in one of Indonesia’s most picturesque regions – and a model for effective conservation throughout the islands.
The move aims to ensure that increased economic development in the province doesn’t damage the environment, while safeguarding the region’s numerous marine protected areas, home to some of the most dazzling collections of sea life.
“THE PINK MANTA”
A unique colour variation, or is this ray just embarrassed that you caught him chatting up a cleaner fish? In what scientists are calling an Australian first, a pink manta ray made the headlines for being spotted in the southern Great Barrier Reef, near Bundaberg.
Dive instructor Ryan Jeffrey, while diving with a group off Lady Elliot Island, spotted the ray with a discoloured underbelly. The male’s underside, which is usually white, was a dusty shade of pink. But it’s not all glitz and glamour for this 15-minutes-offame, pink-panther-of-the-ray-world, as Project Manta lead scientist Dr Kathy Townsend suspected the colouration was most likely to be as a result of a skin infection.