"For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other; they all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from dust, and all turn to dust again." Ecclesiastes, 3:19-20.
During my days at hospital I heard from their radio station that the infamous Hollywood's “Avatar” director has awarded our president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his ambition to plant 10,000 trees across the nation by 2010; a campaign he takes personally by planting trees wherever he goes, while continuously ask his citizen to follow his “one person – one tree” campaign.
James Cameron in his note following the award, applauded President Yudhoyono for trying to combat the rapidly declining rain forest, mostly due to opening of palm oil plantation and resort centers. The president, in return, asked that larger or richer countries do their parts in saving our “home tree” the only earth we have, to sustain every lifeforms that roam above it.
His speech, as quoted by the radio host, brings my mind flowing back to my childhood days, singing an old folk song praising the fertility of our land , the beauty of our beaches, the abundance of our oceans, and the lush of our forests.
Indonesia, once own 20% of rain forest in the world, now is the country with fastest rate of deforestation (4% per year). The day when we boasted ourselves as “the lungs of earth” has long a history; And along with the forest, goes the animals who we once boasted as “the richest in variety”
The oceans and beaches are in no better condition. The bombing of coral reefs during fishing, the many pirates that roam freely to take our abundant resources, and the poisoning of water for fast harvesting had rob us our title “paradise on earth”
While the slogan is still used occasionally in tourism pamphlets or fliers, there will be no paradise if you are actually lived every corner of the country.
From remote areas to biggest cities, animals are abused, exploited, exhausted to their last existence, treated as some “thing” instead of some”one”.
Though itself bound under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) that stipulates that endangered species must not be traded, Indonesia doesn't have animal welfare law to protect its animal diversity.
By law (it was made on 1815), only licensed wildlife hunters and traders are allowed to capture and trade animal parts in Indonesia. In its investigations, however, PETA found most hunters did not have permits.
The Directorate General of Nature Conservancy and Forest Protection (PHKA) oversees the licensing and quotas for wildlife trade in Indonesia. PHKA director general Darori said his office provided permits to groups of snake skin collectors.
However, sequentially he told that “The ones who trap the snakes and lizards are villagers. They sell the skins to licensed collectors. It’s not possible for every single villager to obtain a permit”
Every year, his office releases a quota for the wildlife trade, based on recommendations from the Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI). “LIPI checks whether there is an abundant stock or not. We’re bound to an international convention as well,” Darori said.
According to the PHKA data, the total quota for 2010 is 430,280 snakes; 413,100 monitor lizards, and 29,500 crocodiles, but the kill number is much higher on the streets.
“So, when a snake’s head is cut off, it is not tortured,” he said. Laymen would torture snakes they encounter, out of fear, compared to professional hunters.
“Because the skin is what hunters are after, they do it swiftly so the skin is not damaged. Commoners would batter a snake with a stick if they found one,” he said.
In a more remote part of the country, a wealthy landlord in Medan can be seen bragging his crocodile farm, when piles of salt water or freshwater alligators been taken captive in filthy condition, piled up one on top of the other, stoically waiting to be slaughtered before their skin is exported to Hermes or other high brand fashion for bags, clothes, or shoes.
worker picks up a salt water crocodile (crocodylus porosus) at a crocodile breeding facility in Jayapura, Papua, on Friday. The facility is breeding some 7,500 crocodiles for their valuable skins to make leather products for export to countries such as Singapore, Japan and Italy. (Antara/Oka Barta)
I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish this race and complete this task my Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying the gospel of God's grace – Acts 20:24
My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning – Psalm 130:6
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded - 2 Chronicles 15:7