CONSERVATION IN INDONESIA

Asian Diver (English) - - Front Page -

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.

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