The first reaction that many people expressed when I brought up the topic of poaching in Indonesia was surprise. “What animals are there in Indonesia other than Orang Utans? I thought most of the poaching took place in Africa!” many exclaimed. I would have to admit that I was surprised to learn that Indonesia was home to a great many of the animals in the world and was known for its great biodiversity. Indonesia’s 17,000 islands (11,000 of which are not permanently inhabited by humans) are homes to 17% of all bird species, 12% of the world’s mammal species, 1,000 species of amphibians, 2,000 species of reptiles, 8,000 species of fish, 25,000 species of flowering plants, and an awesome 250,000 species of insects. Thus, it is not inconceivable that Indonesia would top the global charts for “endemism” — or the number of species found here and nowhere else. A whopping 31.1% of all species in Indonesia are endemic!
Indonesia is the fourth most populous country on Earth with more than 240 million people living there. With such a great number of wildlife and so many people sharing the same space, conflicts over resources are inevitable, especially when people expand their territories and encroach into the animal’s habitats. It is funny how people complain about the animals when they are the ones who trespassed into the animals’ space! To date, there is only one known species thought to have become extinct in Indonesia (the mysterious Javan lapwing), but it is clear that many more are precariously at the edge of extinction. Some of these vulnerable species even live on only one or two small islands.
I have always had a soft spot for animals and doing this research has been hard on my heart, particularly seeing pictures of the animals mutilated, caged and with such terror in their eyes.
This blog will be a little documentation of what the poaching situation has been like in Indonesia and what activists and the Indonesian government itself has been trying to do. I will also be providing links at the sidebars for those of you interested in finding out more about the cause to stop poaching and other links for those of you who wish to “adopt” an animal or a conservation close to your heart. For each situation, I will write a little more about the psychological theories behind why people do, think and feel the way they do. This will not be your usual place to get information about the poaching situation in Indonesia. It will give you a deeper insight into the psyche of all the people involve in the situation. Hopefully, through learning about these theories, you will be more aware of what drives people to poach and to want these animals. Also, this blog will tell you more about what experts have recommended as ways to stop poaching and I will also present some of my own ideas about what may be done to control the situation.
I hope that you would enjoy the rest of the entries that shall follow and you find yourself more knowledgeable about both the situation of poaching in Indonesia and a little bit more about the psychology behind all involved.