Sunday, October 31, 2010

Liang Bua A Prehistorie Habitation Cave -Flores - Indonesia

Liang Bua is a limestone cave in the Manggarai Regency of which Ruteng is the administrative centre. Although much of the regency comprises infertile limestones,some part of very suitable for paddy field cultivation and the area generally is known as “The rice bowl” of flores region.

As well as having rich natural resources,Manggarai regency also has a wealth of archeological sites. These include Liang Bua (Meaning,”Cold Cave” in the manggarai Languange), Which is located 14 km Nordwest of Ruteng, about 500 m Above sea level.
Liang Bua is ideal for human occupation, it is 50 m long, 40 m wide, and 15 m high at the dripline.The Wae (river)Racang and wae mulu rivers are about 200 m to the north ,and both contain stone artifacts and raw materials suitable for stone artefact manufacture, including silicified tuff, chalcdony, and chert.

The first scientific work at Liang Bua was undertaken in 1965 by father Theodorus Verhoeven, a catholic missionary based at the Mataloko seminary. He first visited the cave when it was being used as a local elementary school. His excavations yielded high concertrations of stone artefacts, burials and pottery, which proved the archeological potential ot the site.

After Verhoeven, the next excavation were undertaken by prof.R.P.Soejono from the indonesian National Research centre for Archaeology (now National research and development centre for Archaeology) between 1978 and 1989.
This showed that the site contained stratified cultural deposits spanning the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic,Neolithic, and Palaeo-Metallic periods.Radiocarbon dates from 3 metres depth also showed that the site was occupied by modern humans from at least 10.000 years ago.

The most recent excavation were undertaken as collaboration between Prof.R.P.Sujono and Prof.Mike Morwood (University of new England, Australia) between 2001 and 2004.
The field coordinator undertaken by Thomas Sutikna, Jatmiko and Wahyu Saptomo. This was an inter-disciplinary study that included specialist input from geology, geomorphology, palaeontology and palynology. It aimed to investigate the earliest occupation levels, and to obtain information on the site and its context.

These archaeological excavations reached a maximum depth of 10.7 metres without encountering bedrock. Beneath a layer of tuffaceous silts from a volcanic eruption around 11.000 years ago. The researchers found high concentrations of stone artefacts and hearths with the butcherred remains of Stegodon (an extintct type of elephant), Komodo dragon, tortoise, varanus rat and bird etc.

This evidence dates from 95.000 to 12.000 years ago and is associated with a new species of human : Homo Floresiensis . In fact , a skeleton found at 6 metres depth and dated to around 18.000 years ago, is the type specimen for this species. It was of an adult women aged 30, who stood about 106 ch high with a brain only 380 cc in size-compared with the modern adult average of 1200 cc.
This site therefore has great scientific significance for indonesian and world archaeology. It is a valuable educational and economic resource for local people.

Source: The National Research and Development centre for Archaeology
www.indoarchaeology.com, http://www.nature.com/news/specials/flores/index.html
www.komodoisland-tours.com

Komodo Dragon

“The Komodo dragon, as befits any creature evoking a mythological beast, has many names. It is also the Komodo monitor, being a member of the monitor lizard family, Varanidae, which today has one genus, Varanus. Residents of the island of Komodo call it the ora. Among some on Komodo and the islands of Rinca and Flores, it is buaya darat (land crocodile), a name that is descriptive but inaccurate; monitors are not crocodilians. Others call it biawak raksasa (giant monitor), which is quite correct; it ranks as the largest of the monitor lizards, a necessary logical consequence of its standing as the largest lizard of any kind now living on the earth…. Within the scientific community, the dragon is Varanus komodoensis. And most everyone calls it simply the Komodo.” Claudio Ciofi
The Komodo dragon is an ancient species whose ancestors date back over 100 million years. The varanid genus originated between 25 and 40 million years ago in Asia. The Komodo descended from this species and evolved to its present form over four million years ago.
The Komodo is long lived (as are most of the larger reptilian species) with an estimated life expectancy of over 50 years in the wild. In keeping with its longevity, the Komodo matures late in life, becoming sexually viable at five to seven years, and achieving maximum body density in fifteen years. Komodos are sexually dimorphous, which means males are bigger than females. The largest recorded specimen was 3.13 meters in length and was undoubtedly a male. Females rarely exceed 2.5 meters in length. What is perhaps more important, is that the characteristic bulk is achieved by older dominant males in clearly delineated territorial areas. As an adult Komodo can consume up to 80% of its body weight in one gorging, weight is a highly variable factor, and is largely dependent on the most recent feeding. A typical weight for an adult Komodo in the wild is 70 kilograms.
Komodo dragons are first and foremost opportunistic carnivores, and predators second. Although the Komodo can sprint briefly at 20 kilometers an hour, it does not chase down game as do the larger mammalian predators. The Komodo is a stealth predator, which lies motionless and camoflouged alongside game trails for the unwary, which tend to be the very young, the old and the infirm. In an attack, the Komodo lunges at its victim with blinding speed and clasps it with the serrated teeth of the jaw. Prey are rarely downed in the initial attack unless the neck is broken or caratoid artery severed. The more likely outcome is escape, followed by death a few hours or days later from septicemia introduced by the virulent strains of bacteria found in the saliva of the Komodo dragon (the Komodo survive primarily on carrion and ingest the bacteria when feeding).
The Komodo has two highly developed sensory organs – the olefactory and the Jacobson’s - which allow the dragon to detect rotting carcasses from distances as great as 10 kilometers. The yellow forked tongue is
constantly being flicked in and out of the mouth, “tasting the air”, and inserted into the Jacobson’s organ located in the roof of the mouth. The individual tips are highly sensitive and are capable of discriminating odors in the magnitude of millionths of a part. Using the information garnered, the dragon wends in a seemingly random, winding path which becomes straighter the closer it approaches to the carrion. The Komodo is typically a communal feeder and any number of dragons might arrive at the site of the carcass.
Socialization occurs during feeding at carrion sites, as does mating. The abdomen is slashed first and the intestines and stomach contents scattered. Young juveniles roll in the fecal matter to mask their scent from aggressive adults, which attack and sometimes kill juveniles during feeding. The dominant male feeds until sated, followed by other dragons in order of size. While the dominant male is gulping down hindquarters and ribcages, the braver dragons chance foraging a few scraps. Virtually the entire carcass is consumed in the process– head, fur, hooves and bones. After feeding, the Komodos become quiescent and approachable while their digestive tracts are converting the food into fat energy stored in the tail.
Between the months of May and August, mating occurs at and around feeding sites. As males outnumber females in a ratio of nearly four to one, the dominant male must fend off other suitors before mating. Males will engage in slashing, biting and bipedular rearing onto the tail, until the dominant male is acknowledged by displays of subservience and the vanquished flees. The female is forced into a prone position while the male tongue flicks her body, and in particular, the fold between the torso and the rear leg close to the cloaca. With Komodos, the male hemipenes are located here as are the female genetalia. Once prone, the male mounts onto the back of the female and inserts one of the two hemipenes into her cloaca , depending on which side he is perched. The month of September is when a clutch of 15-30 eggs is buried in a nest dug with the powerful claws of the female dragon. A typical nesting site is in the composting vegetative mounds of the maleo birds which are indigenous to Komodo.
The gestation period for the eggs is eight to nine months. Hatchlings, which average 40 centimeters in length and weigh 100 grams, emerge from the nest in April and immediately scramble up the nearest tree to avoid being eaten by the adults. There are plenty of small lizards, insects and mammals in the canopy after the brief rainy season in January and February to sustain the juveniles until they descend to the forest floor roughly a year later. This period of change between an arboreal and a terrestial habitat, when the juveniles are a meter in length, is a time fraught with danger. The juvenile Komodo is just too bulky to safely ascend many trees, and not big enough to outrun a ravenous and determined adult. Cannibalism is a fact of life for this species, and perhaps is an evolutionary response to the harsh, arid climate of Komodo.
Prey species for the dragon on Komodo island include deer, boar, wild buffalo, the maleo bird, snakes, reptiles and small mammals. On Rinca, the monkeys and wild horses found there are also constitute prey, as do the goats raised by the local people. On the odd occasion people are also attacked by the Komodo dragon. There have been eight recorded instances of attacks on humans since Komodo has become a national park, almost all of which occurred on Rinca.
Park Facilities
The Komodo National Park administrative offices are located in Labuanbajo in west Flores. An information center and travel agents where transportation to and from the Park can be arranged are also found in Labuanbajo. The majority of tourists to the Park pass through the Loh Liang ranger station nestled in the sweeping arc of Slawi Bay on Komodo island. This is the largest facility in Komodo National Park with bungalows and rooms, a restaurant and a dormatory for the park rangers. The most popular tourist activity is a hike to the Banugulung viewing area, a two-hour roundtrip level walk that originates from Loh Liang. Hikes to other areas of Komodo are also possible, and vary from one to two days: Gunung Ara, Poreng, Loh Sebita, Gunung Sata libo, Soro Masangga. On longer walks overnight accommodation can be arranged at ranger posts at Loh Sebita and Loh Genggo. For certified divers there is a compressor and diving equipment available for hire at Loh Liang as well as masks and fins for snorkellers. Handicrafts made in the nearby village of Komodo are for sale at the arrival jetty.
The entrance ticket to Komodo National Park costs Rp 20,000 and is valid for three days. It is easily renewable, so a prolonged stay in the park is possible. There are two ranger stations which provide spartan accommodation for tourists: Loh Liang on Komodo and Loh Buaya on Rinca. The charges are minimal and start at Rp 30,000 per room. Be advised that everything is basic, including beds, communal toilets and food availability. Fortunately most travellers are not deterred by the limited facilities, accepting this as a part of the Komodo experience. Advance booking for accommodation are not accepted.
The hiking on Rinca is less strenuous than that on Komodo, and has the added attraction of viewing the wild horses and monkeys which are not found on Komodo. On Rinca wild buffalo are more common and easily seen as well. On the north side of the island, behind Rinca village, is a large cave with a resident bat colony. Rangers at both Loh Liang and Loh Buaya are readily available to lead walks, and are knowledgeable about the local fauna and birdlife.

The
Komodo dragon
Conservation status: Vulnerable
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Sauria
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Species: V. komodoensis
Binomial name:Varanus komodoensis
Ouwens, 1912

Riung Marine park - Flores - Indonesia

www.komodoisland-tours.com

Natural Park Seventeen Riung Island is a group of large and small islands of Pau, Borong, Ontoloe, Dua, Kolong, Lainjawa, Besar, Halima, Patta, Rutong, Meja, Bampa (Tampa or Tembang island), Tiga (Panjang island), Tembaga, Taor, Sui and Wire island. The whole island is uninhabited by humans. This park is located on the mainland island of Flores in public administration including the District of Riung, Regency of Ngada. This area is about 70 km next Bajawa City, the capital Ngada. Area Natural Park is an island Seventeen types of dry forest with a mixture of vegetation types Ketapang (Terminalia catappa), hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliacus), hazelnut (Aleuritis molucana), pandan (Pandanus tectorius), teak (Tectona grandis), bulging ( Sterculia foetida), kesambi (Schleichera oleosa), sandalwood (Santalum album), cinnamon (Mangivera indica), tamarind (Tamarindus indica), sea sengon (Albizia sp), johar (Cassia siamea), Calophyllum inophyllum (Calophyllum inophykum) and Ampupu ( Eucalyptus urophylla). Almost the entire coastal area of the island group was overgrown with mangrove forests that are still intact with dominant species Rhizophora sp, Bruquiera gymnoriza, and Sonneratia sp. Various types of fauna that live in this area include the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), Timor deer (Cervus timorensis), hedgehogs (Zaglossus sp), monkeys (Macaca sp), ferrets (Paradoxurus haemaproditus), timor monitor lizard (Varanus timorensis), Kuskus ( Phalanger sp), partridges (Gallus sp), crocodile (Crododulus porosus), and various species of birds such as eagles (Elanus sp), bluwok or white heron (Egretta Sacra), clothing glawe or black stork (Ciconia episcopus), Lorikeet bird chest yellow (Trichoglosus haemotodus), parrot (Lorius domicella), Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis), bird or birds singed wontong (Megapodius Reinwadrtii) and bats (Pteropsus veropirus). In addition, the area is also rich Seventeen Island coral reef ecosystems and the types of marine biota. There are about 27 species of corals such as Montipora sp, Acropora sp, sp Lobophylla, Platygyra sp, sp Galaxea, Pavites sp, Stylopora sp, Pavona sp, sp and Echynopora Echynophylla sp. The types of biota living waters include marine mammals such as dugongs (Dugong dugon), dolphins and whales (Physister catodon) as well as a variety of ornamental fish that live in coral reefs. Natural Park Area Seventeen Island has rich biological resources, whether living on land or in waters, as well as panoramic and beautiful natural phenomena, which all high potential for recreational activities and nature tourism. Seventeen Island is a natural potential that was quite interesting for a variety of tourism activities, both land and water tour Some attractions within and outside the region . Some of the old tourist activities that can be done in this area include cross-shore and underwater scenery and marine tourism.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Liang Bua
A Prehistorie Habitation Cave

Liang Bua is a limestone cave in the Manggarai Regency of which Ruteng is the administrative centre. Although much of the regency comprises infertile limestones,some part of very suitable for paddy field cultivation and the area generally is known as “The rice bowl” of flores region.

As well as having rich natural resources,Manggarai regency also has a wealth of archeological sites. These include Liang Bua (Meaning,”Cold Cave” in the manggarai Languange), Which is located 14 km Nordwest of Ruteng, about 500 m Above sea level.
Liang Bua is ideal for human occupation, it is 50 m long, 40 m wide, and 15 m high at the dripline.The Wae (river)Racang and wae mulu rivers are about 200 m to the north ,and both contain stone artifacts and raw materials suitable for stone artefact manufacture, including silicified tuff, chalcdony, and chert.

The first scientific work at Liang Bua was undertaken in 1965 by father Theodorus Verhoeven, a catholic missionary based at the Mataloko seminary. He first visited the cave when it was being used as a local elementary school. His excavations yielded high concertrations of stone artefacts, burials and pottery, which proved the archeological potential ot the site.

After Verhoeven, the next excavation were undertaken by prof.R.P.Soejono from the indonesian National Research centre for Archaeology (now National research and development centre for Archaeology) between 1978 and 1989.
This showed that the site contained stratified cultural deposits spanning the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic,Neolithic, and Palaeo-Metallic periods.Radiocarbon dates from 3 metres depth also showed that the site was occupied by modern humans from at least 10.000 years ago.

The most recent excavation were undertaken as collaboration between Prof.R.P.Sujono and Prof.Mike Morwood (University of new England, Australia) between 2001 and 2004.
The field coordinator undertaken by Thomas Sutikna, Jatmiko and Wahyu Saptomo. This was an inter-disciplinary study that included specialist input from geology, geomorphology, palaeontology and palynology. It aimed to investigate the earliest occupation levels, and to obtain information on the site and its context.

These archaeological excavations reached a maximum depth of 10.7 metres without encountering bedrock. Beneath a layer of tuffaceous silts from a volcanic eruption around 11.000 years ago. The researchers found high concentrations of stone artefacts and hearths with the butcherred remains of Stegodon (an extintct type of elephant), Komodo dragon, tortoise, varanus rat and bird etc.

This evidence dates from 95.000 to 12.000 years ago and is associated with a new species of human : Homo Floresiensis . In fact , a skeleton found at 6 metres depth and dated to around 18.000 years ago, is the type specimen for this species. It was of an adult women aged 30, who stood about 106 ch high with a brain only 380 cc in size-compared with the modern adult average of 1200 cc.
This site therefore has great scientific significance for indonesian and world archaeology. It is a valuable educational and economic resource for local people.

Source: The National Research and Development centre for Archaeology
www.indoarchaeology.com

Flores Tourist Attraction

FLORES TOURIST ATTRACTION
LABUANBAJO
A little town inhabited by fishermen, lies at the extreme western part of Flores Island. The town serves as a jumping off point for the trip to Komodo Island. It is a beautiful area for water skiing, wind surfing, fishing and many other marine activities.
Batu Cermin Cave is five kilometers from the town of Labuanbajo. It can be reached partly by car, and partly on foot. The grotto is 75 by 75 meters large, and contains stalactites and stalagmites. Some tunnels are narrow and dark but in others sunlight falls.
Mbeliling Conservation area: Mbeliling is one of Flores nature conservation area, here life some of Flores endemic birds ie: Flores Hanging-parrot Loriculus flosculus and Flores Crow Corvus florensis, and many other birds, nature pure and rain forest
Lake Sano Nggoang:
Located approximately 35 km east of Labuan Bajo, Thought to be one of the deepest volcanic crater lakes in the world, with recorded depths of 500 meter. Its waters are sulfuric and fed by numerous hot springs . Surroundings: Rural. Agricultural society. Traditional villages, rich in local culture.

Tado Community Eco-tourism: Tado is located approximately 45 km east of Labuan Bajo .Two closely –connected traditional West Manggarai villages, rich in local culture and traditions. Community-based ecotourism villages.
Wae Rebo Traditional Village: the Authentic Housing of Manggarai, located about 1000m above sea level , in the middle of mountain. All are traditional houses, with really high roofs and they are on 5 levels - the top four are mainly used for storage and all the living areas are on the bottom. We will stay in a house with 8 families. Here you have chance to keep in touch with the people and learnt by seeing, asking, and feeling their culture, life and activities.

R U T E NG
Ruteng is the capital of Manggarai Regency that was once ruled by the kings of Bima. The influences of Bima. The influences of Bima and Goa are evident in prevailing titles, such as Karaeng, and in the manner of dress. The shape of the roofs with the buffalo horn symbol, may be an element inherited from the Minangkabau. The cool town of Ruteng lies at the foot of a mountain. It can be reached by air from Kupang or Denpasar via Bima, or by ferry from Bima via Labuanbajo, or from eastern part via Ende and Bajawa. Beside the fame Komodo lizards, the area has many attractions to offer the tourists, such as the caci dance, a wildlife reserve, and archeological caves
.
Cancar ;Golo Cara; the unique lingko rice fields, circular terraces arranged like a spider web.
Liang Bua: the place where Homo Floresiensis was founded by the archeopathology of new England university of Australia and from Indonesia. The tiny skeleton called Hobbit was discovered during a three-month excavation inside Liang Bua, Scientists believe it may represent a new human species, Homo floresiensis, The species existed alongside modern humans as recently as 13,000 years ago, yet may descend from Homo erectus, which arose some two million years ago.
BAJAWA
The capital of Ngada is Bajawa, which lies in the middle of the cool highlands. It is a pleasant little town such as is seldom found elsewhere in Flores. About 135 kilometers from Ruteng all about 5 to 7 hour - driving distance by car, Bajawa can also be reahed from Kupang by air-craft, and from Ende by car.
Abulobo and Inerie are between mountains with sharp peaks known locally as the "sky pillars", and popular among mountaineers. They are located near coast and have wonderful scannery.
B E N A
Bena is prototype of an ancient Ngada village. Such villages are found in rather great numbers in the area and can be reached by car from bajawa in about one and half hours. The way of life of the people is unique, and so are the houses and the traditional ceremonies.
R I U N G
Riung is now wellknown for its seventeen isles that makes the sea surrounding a paradise for marine lovers. Here one can dive, snorkel, and swim.
The beach is a sea-side resort with clear and calm water. There is a beautiful coral reef just off the shore.
E NDE
Ende was the site of a kingdom that existed around the end of the 1 8th century. The name today refers to the capital of the Ende regency, which includes the two autonomous territories of Lio and Ende. The people of the area therefore known as Lio Ende people. This town has for many decades been a center of government trade, education and political activity. Rebellion against the Dutch, led by a certain Nipa Do - known as the Wars of Watu Api and Mari Longa - decurred here in 1916 - 1917. And in 1934, the traditionalist leader Soekarno, who was later to become Indonesia's first president, was exiled to Ende by the Dutch colonial government.
The town Ende lies at the foot of mountains lye, lpi, Meja and Wongge. The beautiful bays of Ende, lpi, and Mbuu are favorite sites for beach-site recreation. Ende can be reached by aircraft from Kupang. And also from Denpasar via Bima, or by from Surabaya or Kupang.
The Bung Karno Museum is the old house occupied by Soekarno during his years of exile in Ende. Most of for the old furnishings are still there.
While in exile in Ende, Soekarno wrote and staged few plays, together with the Tonel Kelimutu theatre troupe. Among those plays were Rendorua Ola Nggera Nusa (Rendo That Stirred the Archipelago) and Doctor Satan, a revision on the story of Dr. Frankenstein.
Near the football field in Ende stands an old, big breadfruit tree. Under it, Soekarno often sat, working on political ideas to lead Indonesia towards independence. Those reflections presumably contributed to the opening of the Pancasila concept, which is now the state philosophy of the Indonesian Republic. Just from here was the Pancasila idea born. Today, the Pancasila Birth Monument stand on this precise spot.

KELIMUTU
East Nusa Tenggara's natural wonder and one of Indonesia's most mysterious and dramatic sights that can be found on top this mountain, some 66 kilometers from Ende, or 83 kilometers from Maumere. It has a unique and spectacular view on its three crater lakes with their respective colors. The colors, however, have changed continually since the eruption of Mount /ye in Ende in 1969.
The mountain is located at the back of Mount Kelibara, in the Wolowaru District in the Ende, Regency of Central Flores. Keli means mountain and Mutu means boiling. In short, it means volcano. To the local people, this mountain is holy, and a token of God's blessings. It provides fertility to the surrounding lands. It is both heaven and the hell to the people of Lio Ende. Many travelers and scientists, have written about Kelimutu since it was discovered by Van Suchtelen, a Ducth government officer,
in 1915
Father Bouman published an article in 1929, which made the name Kelimutu known all over the world. Since then, many researchers and tourits have come, as well as the Governor General of Batavia (Jakarta). To get to the lakes, one follows the road, from Moni, then proceed to the crater's top. Near the crater rim was a bungalow, which has now been dismantled.
The presence of the white men, or Ata Bara, was regarded disturbing to the peace of the ancestral spirits. As a result the spirits of Kelimutu disappeared. Earth quakes began rocking the land. Smoke is often released from the crater.
The eruption of 1928 caused many victims and much damage. In 1938 there was another eruption, coming from Tiwu Ata Koo Fai Noo, Ata Nuwa Muri (the Lake of Youth). The biggest took place in 1968, in which the water in the lakes was shot 10 kilometers high into the sky. The peak of Kelimutu itself is 1,690 meters high, and its lake crater I ,410. Other geological data are as follows: Tiwu Ata Polo (the Lake of Evil) has a slopping wall, 150 meters high. The lake is 380 by 280 meters large and 64 meters deep. The volume of the water is about 446,000 cubic meters.
Tiwu Ata Koo Fai Noo and Ata Nawa Muri (the Lake of Youth) has walls 128 meters high. The lake is 430 by 300 square large and 127 meters deep with a water content of about 500.000 cubic meters.
Timu Ata Bupo (the Lake of the old) has twi layers of walls, 240 meters high. The lake covers a surface of 300 by 280 meters high. The water is 67 meters deep and 345,000 cubic meters in volume. The total water content of the three lakes amounts to 1,3 million cubic meters.
In the last three ti five years, the lakes of Kelimutu have changed in color, a phenomenon caused by the geological and chemical processes in the bottom and walls of take lakes. It could also have resulted from changes in the bacteria and micro organism populations due to changes in temperature.
Another theory proposed by village elders, is that there has actually been no change at all, but that the effect is due to optical illusions. To reach Kelimutu can be done by flying to Ende or Maumere, then going by car to Kelimutu
The surrounding villages are good places serving as bases for visits to Kelimutu, particularly those who wish to have a more leisurely pace and enjoy the views along the road between Ende and maumere, or spend more time in Kelimutu. Those title villages are also known for their excellent weaving all hand made, still use natural dyes.
MAUMERE
A port town on the northeastern coast of Flores and stopover on the way to Ende or to Denpasar, and Ujungpandang, and noted for its good beaches. The bay of Maumere, Waiara, is considered the best diving spot (Flores Marine Resort) as it promise extremely rich marine life.
The resort is a paradise for all divers, underwater photographers, and for everyone interested in marone biology.
It has a beautiful sea garden filled with corals and fish. So does Koka, nearby. Accommodation and facilities for recreation are available.
Ledalero Museum at the outskirts of Maumere has an interesting collection of ethnological objects for the region. Visitors are welcome but advanced arrangements should be made. Ledalero is also a name of a major Catholic Seminary from many of Florinese priest originated. (More info: www.floresexotictours.com)

Komodo National Park

KOMODO NATIONAL PARK
LOCATION :
Komodo National Park lies in the Wallacea Region of Indonesia, identified by WWF and Conservation International as a global conservation priority area. The Park is located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores at the border of the Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) and Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTP) provinces. It includes three major islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and numerous smaller islands together totaling 603 km2 of land. The total size of Komodo National Park is presently 1,817 km2. Proposed extensions of 25 km2 of land (Banta Island) and 479 km2 of marine waters would bring the total surface area up to 2,321 km2
HISTORY :
Komodo National Park was established in 1980 and was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986. The park was initially established to conserve the unique Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), first discovered by the scientific world in 1911 by J.K.H. Van Steyn. Since then conservation goals have expanded to protecting its entire biodiversity, both marine and terrestrial.
The majority of the people in and around the Park are fishermen originally from Bima (Sumbawa), Manggarai, South Flores, and South Sulawesi. Those from South Sulawesi are from the Suku Bajau or Bugis ethnic groups. The Suku Bajau were originally nomadic and moved from location to location in the region of Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Maluku, to make their livelihoods. Descendents of the original people of Komodo, the Ata Modo, still live in Komodo, but there are no pure blood people left and their culture and language is slowly being integrated with the recent migrants.
Little is known of the early history of the Komodo islanders. They were subjects of the Sultanate of Bima, although the island’s remoteness from Bima meant its affairs were probably little troubled by the Sultanate other than by occasional demand for tribute.
DEMOGRAPHICS :
There are presently almost 4,000 inhabitants living within the park spread out over four settlements (Komodo, Rinca, Kerora, and Papagaran). All villages existed prior to 1980 before the area was declared a national park. In 1928 there were only 30 people living in Komodo Village, and approximately 250 people on Rinca Island in 1930. The population increased rapidly, and by 1999, there were 281 families numbering 1,169 people on Komodo, meaning that the local population had increased exponentially. Komodo Village has had the highest population increase of the villages within the Park, mostly due to migration by people from Sape, Manggarai, Madura, and South Sulawesi. The number of buildings in Kampung Komodo has increased rapidly from 30 houses in 1958, to 194 houses in 1994, and 270 houses in 2000. Papagaran village is similar in size, with 258 families totaling 1,078 people. As of 1999, Rinca’s population was 835, and Kerora's population was 185 people. The total population currently living in the Park is 3,267 people, while 16,816 people live in the area immediately surrounding the Park.
EDUCATION :
The average level of education in the villages of Komodo National Park is grade four of elementary school. There is an elementary school located in each of the villages, but new students are not recruited each year. On average, each village has four classes and four teachers. Most of the children from the small islands in the Kecamatan Komodo (Komodo, Rinca, Kerora, Papagaran, Mesa) do not finish elementary school. Less than 10% of those which do graduate from elementary school will continue to high school since the major economic opportunity (fishing) does not require further education. Children must be sent to Labuan Bajo to attend high school, but this is rarely done in fishermen’s families.
HEALTH :
Most of the villages located in and around the Park have few fresh water facilities available, if any, particularly during the dry season. Water quality declines during this time period and many people become ill. Malaria and diarrhea are rampant in the area. On Mesa island, with a population of around 1,500 people, there is no fresh water available. Fresh water is brought by boat in jerrycans from Labuan Bajo. Each family needs an average of Rp 100,000.- per month to buy fresh water (2000). Almost every village has a local medical facility with staff, and at least a paramedic. The quality of medical care facilities is low.
SOCIO-CULTURAL AND ANTHROPOLOGIC CONDITIONS :
Traditional Customs: Traditional communities in Komodo, Flores and Sumbawa have been subjected to outside influences and the influence of traditional customs is dwindling. Television, radio, and increased mobility have all played a part in accelerating the rate of change. There has been a steady influx of migrants into the area. At the moment nearly all villages consist of more than one ethnic group.
Religion: The majority of fishermen living in the villages in the vicinity of the Park are Muslims. Hajis have a strong influence in the dynamics of community development. Fishermen hailing from South Sulawesi (Bajau, Bugis) and Bima are mostly Moslems.
The community from Manggarai are mostly Christians. Anthropology and Language: There are several cultural sites within the Park, particularly on Komodo Island. These sites are not well documented, however, and there are many questions concerning the history of human inhabitance on the island. Outside the Park, in Warloka village on Flores, there is a Chinese trading post remnant of some interest. Archeological finds from this site have been looted in the recent past. Most communities in and around the Park can speak Bahasa Indonesia. Bajo language is the language used for daily communication in most communities.
TERRESTRIAL PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT :
Topography: The topography is varied, with slopes from 0 – 80%. There is little flat ground, and that is generally located near the beach. The altitude varies from sea level to 735 m above sea level. The highest peak is Gunung Satalibo on Komodo Island.
Geology: The islands in Komodo National Park are volcanic in origin. The area is at the juncture of two continental plates: Sahul and Sunda. The friction of these two plates has led to large volcanic eruptions and caused the up-thrusting of coral reefs. Although there are no active volcanoes in the park, tremors from Gili Banta (last eruption 1957) and Gunung Sangeang Api (last eruption 1996) are common. West Komodo probably formed during the Jurasic era approximately 130 million years ago. East Komodo, Rinca, and Padar probably formed approximately 49 million years ago during the Eocene era.
Climate: Komodo National Park has little or no rainfall for approximately 8 months of the year, and is strongly impacted by monsoonal rains. High humidity levels year round are only found in the quasi-cloud forests on mountain tops and ridges. Temperatures generally range from 170C to 340C, with an average humidity level of 36%. From November through March the wind is from the west and causes large waves that hit the entire length of Komodo island’s west beach. From April through October the wind is dry and large waves hit the south beaches of Rinca and Komodo islands.
TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS :
The terrestrial ecosystems are strongly affected by the climate: a lengthy dry season with high temperatures and low rainfall, and seasonal monsoon rains. The Park is situated in a transition zone between Australian and Asian flora and fauna. Terrestrial ecosystems include open grass-woodland savanna, tropical deciduous (monsoon) forest, and quasi cloud forest.
Due to the dry climate, terrestrial plant species richness is relatively low. The majority of terrestrial species are xerophytic and have specific adaptations to help them obtain and retain water. Past fires have selected for species that are fire-adapted, such as some grass species and shrubs. Terrestrial plants found in Komodo National Park include grasses, shrubs, orchids, and trees. Important food tree species for the local fauna include Jatropha curkas, Zizyphus sp., Opuntia sp., Tamarindus indicus, Borassus flabellifer, Sterculia foetida, Ficus sp., Cicus sp., ‘Kedongdong hutan’ (Saruga floribunda), and ‘Kesambi’ (Schleichera oleosa).
TERRESTRIAL FAUNA :
The terrestrial fauna is of rather poor diversity in comparison to the marine fauna. The number of terrestrial animal species found in the Park is not high, but the area is important from a conservation perspective as some species are endemic.. Many of the mammals are Asiatic in origin (e.g., deer, pig, macaques, civet). Several of the reptiles and birds are Australian in origin. These include the orange-footed scrubfowl, the lesser sulpher-crested cockatoo and the nosy friarbird.
Reptiles: The most famous of Komodo National Park's reptiles is the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). It is among the world's largest reptiles and can reach 3 meters or more in length and weigh over 70kg. Click: the komodo dragon
Other than the Komodo Dragon twelve terrestrial snake species are found on the island. including the cobra (Naja naja sputatrix), Russel’s pit viper (Vipera russeli), and the green tree vipers (Trimeresurus albolabris). Lizards include 9 skink species (Scinidae), geckos (Gekkonidae), limbless lizards (Dibamidae), and, of course, the monitor lizards (Varanidae). Frogs include the Asian Bullfrog (Kaloula baleata), Oreophyne jeffersoniana and Oreophyne darewskyi. They are typically found at higher, moister altitudes.
Mammals: Mammals include the Timor deer (Cervus timorensis), the main prey of the Komodo dragon, horses (Equus sp.), water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), wild boar (Sus scrofa vittatus), long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus lehmanni), the endemic Rinca rat (Rattus rintjanus), and fruit bats. One can also find goats, dogs and domestic cats.
Birds: One of the main bird species is the orange-footed scrub fowl (Megapodius reinwardti), a ground dwelling bird. In areas of savanna, 27 species were observed. Geopelia striata and Streptopelia chinensis were the most common species. In mixed deciduous habitat, 28 bird species were observed, and Philemon buceroides, Ducula aenea, and Zosterops chloris were the most common.

MARINE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT :
The marine area constitutes 67% of the Park. The open waters in the Park are between 100 and 200 m deep. The straits between Rinca and Flores and between Padar and Rinca, are relatively shallow (30 to 70 m deep), with strong tidal currents. The combination of strong currents, coral reefs and islets make navigation around the islands in Komodo National Park difficult and dangerous. Sheltered deep anchorage is available at the bay of Loh Liang on Komodo’s east coast, the South East coast of Padar, and the bays of Loh Kima and Loh Dasami on Rinca.
In the North of the Park water temperature ranges between 25 – 29°C. In the middle, the temperature ranges between 24 and 28°C. The temperatures are lowest in the South, ranging from 22 – 28°C. Water salinity is about 34 ppt and the water is quite clear, although the waters closer to the islands are relatively more turbid.
MARINE ECOSYSTEMS :
Indonesia is the only equatorial region in the world where there is an exchange of marine flora and fauna between the Indian and Pacific oceans. Passages in Nusa Tenggara (formerly the Lesser Sunda Islands) between the Sunda and Sahul shelves allow movement between the Pacific and Indian oceans. The three main ecosystems in Komodo National Park are seagrass beds, coral reefs, and mangrove forests. The Park is probably a regular cetacean migration route.
MARINE FLORA :
The three major coastal marine plants are algae, seagrasses and mangrove trees. Algae are primitive plants, which do not have true roots, leaves or stems. An important reef-building algae is the red coralline algae, which actually secretes a hard limestone skeleton that can encrust and cement dead coral together. Seagrasses are modern plants that produce flowers, fruits and seeds for reproduction. As their name suggests, they generally look like large blades of grass growing underwater in sand near the shore. Thallasia sp. and Zastera spp. are the common species found in the Park. Mangroves trees can live in salty soil or water, and are found throughout the Park. An assessment of mangrove resources identified at least 19 species of true mangroves and several more species of mangrove associates within the Park's borders.

MARINE FAUNA :
Komodo National Park includes one of the world's richest marine environments. It consists of forams, cnidaria (includes over 260 species of reef building coral), sponges (70 species), ascidians, marine worms, mollusks, echinoderms, crustaceans, cartilaginous and bony fishes (over 1,000 species), marine reptiles, and marine mammals (dolphins, whales, and dugongs). Some notable species with high commercial value include sea cucumbers (Holothuria), Napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus), and groupers.

Internet Sources:
•Komodo National Park : www.komodonationalpark.org
•Komodo foundation : www.komodofoundation.org
•Sandiegozoo : www.sandiegozoo.org
•Wikipedia : www.wikipedia.org
•Wildlife organisation : www.amnh.org
•Community Website : www.floreskomodo.com
•Komodo island :www.komodoisland-tours.com

Flores Island

F L O R E S ISLAND

Flores island, the exotic place least visited by the foreigner. It is worth to visit the destination.
It has strong ethnic touch with typical tribal work of civilization, more people still influenced by the animistic beliefs. The nature settings are so beautiful, there are soaring volcanoes, colored crater lakes, forests, beautiful sea gardens with white sands beaches, and prehistoric Giant animals too.
Flores is a big, rugged remarkably beautiful island .Dominated by a string of volcanes, the long impenetrable terrain has divided the island into many distinct ethnic groups. There are interesting cultures here, with layers of traditional beliefs beneath the prevalent Christianity.

History
Flores owes its name to the Portuguese, who called its eastern most Cape Cabo Das Flores, meaning Cape of Flowers. The island diverse cultures have enough similarities to suggest that they developed from common ancestry, differentialed by geographical isolation and varying influence of outsiders. Long before Europeans arrived in the 16 century, much of coastal Flores was firmly in the hands of the Makasarnese and Bugis from southern Celebes ( Sulawesi ).
As early 1512, Flores was sighted by the Portuguese navigator Antonio de Abreu and Europeans had probably landed by 1550. The Portuguese involved in the lucrative Sandalwood trade with Timor, built Fortresses on Pulau Solor ( Solor island ) eastern of flores island .and at Pulau Ende ( Ende island ) south coast of central of Flores. In 1561 Dominican Priests established a mission on Pulau Solor. Christianity was a successful import and today a church is the centerpiece of almost every village.In the 17 century, the Dutch kicked the Portuguese out of flores. Ternate and Gowa ( a part of Molluceas island ) also ceded all their rights on Solor, Flores and eastern Sumbawa to the Dutch, giving them nominal control, but it was too complex and isolated to rule effectively. Around 1850 the Dutch purchased Portugal’s remaining enclaves in the area, including Larantuka , Sikka and Paga. Even into the first decade of the 20th century, the Dutch were constantly confronted with rebellions and inter – tribal wars. Unrest continued until a major military campaign in 1907 subdued most of the tribes of central and western Flores. Missionaries moved into the isolated western hills in the 1920’s.
Flores is holding its breath for provincial statues . This will be a huge development for the island, as it is currently under the jurisdiction of Kupang and the Nusa Tenggara Timor ( NTT ) government and has only limited control over its affairs.


Geography
The island’s turbulent volcanic past has left a complicated relief of V – shaped valleys, knife edged ridges, and a collection of active and extinct volcanoes.
One of the finest volcanoes is the caldera of Kelimutu in Central Flores, with its three colored lakes. There are 14 active volcanoes in Flores. Only Java and Sumatera have more. The central mountains slope gently to the volcanoes plunge steeply into the sea.
In the island is part of one of the worlds most geologically unstable zones, and earthquakes and tremors hit every year. In December 1992 an earthquake measuring 6,8 on the Richter scale, and then massive tidal wave that followed it, killed around 3000 people in eastern Flores and Flattened much of Maumere.The rugged terrain makes road construction difficult, although Flores is only about 375 km long, its main east – west roads winds, twists, ascends and descends for nearly 710 km – that is almost 2 – for – 1.

Climate
The rainy season ( November to March ) is more intense in western Flores, which receives the brunt of the north – Flores highest peak ( The 2400mGunung Ranaka ), gets an average of 3350mm of rain every year. But Ende , Maumere, have only 1140mm and Larantuka recevest 770mm.

Batu Cermin Cave is five kilometers from the town of Labuanbajo. It can be reached partly by car, and partly on foot. The grotto is 75 by 75 meters large, and contains stalactites and stalagmites. Some tunnels are narrow and dark but in others sunlight falls.

Religion
Around 85% of the people are Catholic but in rural areas particularly, Christianity is divided onto traditional beliefs. Animistic rituals are still important here for a variety of Occasions, ranging from birth, marriage, and death to the building of new houses, or to mark important points in the agricultural cycle. Even educated, English – speaking Florinese still admit to the odd chicken, pig ,or buffalo sacrifice to keep their ancestors happy when rice is planted or a new field opened up. In former times, it took more then animal blood to keep the Gods and spirits friendly, there are persistent tales of children or virgin girls being sacrificed. Muslims tend to congregate in the coastal towns such as Ende where they make up half population.

Administration
Flores is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province. The island is split into eight regencies (local government districts); from west to east these are: West Manggarai,Manggarai,east Manggarai, Ngada, Nagekeo, Ende, Sikka and Flores Timur.

Tourism
The most famous tourist attraction in Flores is Kelimutu; three coloured lakes in the district of Ende. These coloured lakes change colours on a regular basis. The latest colours (late 2004) were said to be turquoise, brown and black.
There is good snorkelling and diving on several locations along the north coast of Flores, most notably Maumere and Riung. However, due to the destructive practice of local fishermen using bombs to fish, and locals selling shells to tourists, the reefs are slowly being destroyed.
West Flores is also the best place for eco tours, trekking, hiking, and birds watching.
(More info and tours Package)