In the afternoon at the end of August 2016, the sun was not so visible. Clouds cover the city of Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. Jufiansyah, 51 years old, the motorcycle taxi driver I was riding with stopped his motorbike right in front of SMA Negeri 8 Balikpapan.
“Behind the school is the mangrove forest,” said the man who came from the Banjar tribe.
Jufiansyah then became an impromptu guide. He offered his services to take me to the mangrove forest. At first glance from the outside, there are no signs that the mangrove forest and Dutch monkeys live peacefully here. In dense and noisy residential areas, busy traffic, and the sound of loudspeakers keep echoing. It is located in Margomulyo Village, West Balikpapan District.
“Through this tunnel, Mas,” said Jufiansyah.
Right beside SMA 8 Balikpapan is the entrance to the mangrove forest. A few steps later, I was greeted by a bridge made of ironwood; to the left, the mangrove cover is starting to appear and to the right, there are two houses on stilts. Residents drying clothes on the bridge. Two-wheeled vehicles are also seen passing in this place.
From the stilt house, a young woman came out. Jufiansyah asked me to meet him and pay a fee to enter the area.
“Man, if you want to see the proboscis monkeys, you will meet at an intersection of three, turn left. Usually, the probosci’s monkeys play there,” said Dwi again.
I stepped foot following the ironwood bridge. After passing through the gate marked “welcome”, an information post states that the area of this mangrove forest is 21 hectares, with a spacing of 1 X 1 meter. The types planted were Rhizopora apiculata, Rhizopora mucronata, Sonneratia casiolaris, Sonneratia alba, Avicenia alba, Avicenia lanata, Ceriops taga, Ceriops decandra, Brugilera gymnorrhiza, Lumnitzera littorea, Xylocarpus granatum, Nypafruticans, Acrostichum, and Scyphiphora .
At some points, the mangrove tree cover is very good and provides coolness. But in another part, there are trees that look damaged and boards from various institutions or certain organizations, stuck which leave traces of writing that once carried out activities here.
Getting deeper, not a single herd of proboscis monkeys appeared. All that was seen were a few birds chirping, playing, and foraging in a small stream. One of them is the Collared Kingfisher. This bird has predominantly blue wings, white neck to chest, and black beak to head.
In this mangrove forest area, many tourists come. Starts from children to adults. Some groups spend time just looking for coolness while seeing the proboscis monkeys directly.
Towards Maghrib, when the sun slowly moves to its bed, and the forest area begins to quiet, the mangrove shoots look like they are swaying in the wind. One by one, the herd of probosci’s monkeys appeared. His trademark, long nose. In fact, one of the mothers jumped with the baby clinging to the chest. While the male pays attention to the atmosphere around him. The probosci’s monkeys descended to the bridge made of ironwood. They look for mangrove fruit food that is in a lower position.
One of them is not establishing an entry fee for the area. While visitors come freely, some of them are seen leaving a trail of trash. This is very unfortunate and detrimental to the mangrove forest that is still well maintained in the center of Balikpapan City, which is also home to the probosci’s monkeys.
According to the records of the Balikpapan Bay Caring Forum, the probosci monkey’s main habitat in this sun bear city is in Balikpapan Bay. This area supports the habitat of the proboscis monkey population which reaches 1,400 individuals, which represents five percent of the estimated total number of proboscis monkeys. Although the overall population of probosci monkeys is estimated at 20-25 thousand individuals, several other important populations are still unknown or have not been considered.
The probosci’s monkey is a protected animal by law number 5 of 1990 concerning the conservation of living natural resources and their ecosystems. Also, included in the CITES Appendix I list or may not be traded. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) includes the status as Endangered ( Endangered / EN).
Mongabay Travel: Here it is, a tourist resort in Anambas that implements a conservation campaign
The beauty under the sea and nature that exists on the mainland of the Anambas Islands in Anambas Regency, Riau Archipelago Province, melted the heart of a businessman who is also an environmentalist from England who lives in Singapore, Tim Hartnoll. He, who was enjoying a holiday in Anambas, immediately chose the group of islands there to be used as a private tourist spot.
It is the Lower Island cluster that locks the Team’s heart to make investment decisions. The decision was taken because Bawah Island, which consists of 6 islands, has complete marine and mountain natural attractions. Not only that, this group of uninhabited islands also has a very beautiful lagoon.
Sales and Marketing Communication Director of PT Pulau Bawah Bala Navaratman told reporters in Jakarta this weekend that the construction of a tourist resort in the Bawah Island cluster would apply the conservation concept. This concept was chosen because the beauty of Bawah Island must be enjoyed by anyone at all times.
As a world-class resort built in the Anambas Archipelago Marine Tourism Park, Bala realizes that its existence will attract the attention of water and nature tourism lovers from everywhere, including Indonesia. Therefore, conservation campaigns will always be encouraged 24 hours a day for guests and all workers in the resort.
According to Bala, one of the conservation campaigns that must be carried out by everyone in the resort is a ban on bringing plastic in any form. In addition, to provide vacation options, the resort also provides eco-friendly water sports.
“We provide sailing and kayaking. This is part of our campaign for marine tourism conservation. Not to forget, we share experiences with guests to hike to the mountains and do snorkeling,” he said.
In addition, Bala explained, for conservation purposes, the resort designated an area 500 meters from the shoreline as a prohibited area for fishing. In addition, the resort also reforests (replants) trees around the island.
According to Bala, the importance of implementing conservation is because he does not want to repeat the mistakes made in tourism in the Maldives which have long been famous for their underwater beauty. In the Maldives, marine tourism exploration has reached excessive limits and it threatens the surrounding ecosystem.
Also on behalf of conservation, Aji revealed, investors only built 35 villas with a maximum capacity of two people each, or a total of 70 people. With fewer visitors on the island, there is less potential for damage. Moreover, he said, all guests were also provided with a conservation campaign.
For your information, the resort on Bawah Island besides accommodating a maximum of 70 guests, also employs 150 people on duty at each villa. To build villas as well as island facilities such as a pier, PT Pulau Bawah started five years ago. Because the resort is foreign-owned, the Government of Indonesia gave a concession for 30 years.
In the Lower Island cluster, there are 6 islands and 13 beaches. However, out of all of them, only 1 island and 1 beach were developed. The rest left to remain natural. Bawah Island itself is part of the 238 islands in the Anambas Archipelago Regency. In total, currently, there are 50 thousand people living on 30 islands.
Administratively, Bawah Island is included in Siabu Village, South Siantan District. The island is a group of islands consisting of Bawah Island, Sanggah, Murbah, Lidi, and Elang. The formation of the five islands forms a very beautiful lagoon, one of which is the Bawah Island Lagoon. The total area of the island is 99,379 hectares.
On Bawah Island, there are biological ecosystems such as coral reefs, reef fish consisting of 18 families, and coastal vegetation.
To be able to reach Bawah Island, guests will be provided with a seaplane that flies from Batam. Because it claims to be a private and world-class tourist destination, Bawah Island targets its visitors from the high end.