Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Mentawai Primates : Strengthen cultural Identity and Grassroots Conservation

written by : Arif Setiawan
Kloss's Gibbon Photograped by Ismael, a day before departure to Yogyakarta

Biggest meeting of  Indonesian Primate  enthusiast have been done this week in Yogyakarta, 18-20 September 2019. Nearly 300 people gathered together, participants, invited guest, and officials, Indonesian primate enthusiast coming with their recent presentation talk and posters. Here I notice my personal insight towards Mentawai primates and it’s conservation effort on during the conference.
First, about opening ceremony, it has been long discussion with organizing committee, to perform something entertain but related to Indonesian primates. Than come up with two option i.e  : hanuman classic dance or Mentawai Primate traditional dance, than the committee select Mentawai primate dance that will be perform during opening ceremony. 
dance training before the real stage, it was in Uma

Seprianus perform as an eagle flying, training in Uma

Honestly it was not easy to make it, fortunately we have been working with a Mentawaian community since several years ago, with the Uma Malinggai Traditional Mentawai, so I talk to the team in Uma about this plan and to do  perform traditional dance from Mentawai, introducing mentawai culture and nature to the special guest of Indonesian primate congress and symposium. . So  the team prepare all the things in less than one month, 6 students from southern siberut  was selected by UMA elders to come and perform in the opening ceremony of the 5th congress of Indonesian Primatological Association and symposium on  Indonesian primates. 

Every week I got update from Siberut, this is will be the first experience of these mentawaian going out far away from their home. While the dance team always send me update during practice, and dance have decided will perform about Mentawai gibbon dance and bird of prey dance.  

Long way trip, from Siberut to Yogyakarta, have made some Uma members are exhausted,  6 hours by ferry, a night stop at Padang than fly to Jogjakarta, 14 September leaving for Yogyakarta, and arrived on 16 September. One day arrived in Yogya this Mentawai team have opportunity to do dance exercise in the venue and prepare all the things with conference  organizer team.

On the day, opening ceremony everybody are nervous, when the host calling and introduction all dancers are so gorgeous and amazing, they did so confidence and attract audience. Watch here for their performance :

This dance  are perform usually for traditional ceremony in Mentawai, there are 3 gibbons who live  happily in the forest and looking for water to drinks.

Mentawai primate talks, compare to number of Mentawai primates species,  there are still lack of research and conservation works in Mentawai, I noticed some talks presentation about Mentawai primates, and meet people who work and interested on Mentawai Primate conservation fieldwork. There are 3 presentation talk about Mentawai primates, first is on the Biomedical and Biomolekular Symposium, Rizka Hasanah from Bogor Agricultural University, present her research entitled with Analisis Keragaman Genetik berdasarkan marka D-loop mtDNA dan gen TSPY pada Siamang Kerdil (Hylobates klossii) Kepulauan Mentawaifrom her presentation the conclusion is there is four haplotype based on mtDNA of Kloss gibbon in Mentawai, however need more sample for to get more information on the genetic.

Mentawai wildlife watching trip, have been launch during  Indonesian Gibbon Symposium 

Second talk is from Damianus Tateburuk, replace his colleague Ismael Saumanuk for a talk entitle with “ Gibbon Watching : Promosi Konservasi Primata Mentawai”, a collaborative work between Uma Malinggai and my team at swaraowa to promote conservation of Mentawai primates. Dami was said that we have been prepare sites for primate watching and launch a trip for primate watching in Mentawai,with a wildlife tour based in Yogyakarta (Loontour). Pocket guide of Mentawai also have been finished and ready to use for educational purposes among mentawaian and field guide reference. And my talk it self is about distribution status of kloss gibbon in Mentawai, based on 2011-2012 survey and 2017 fieldwork. I met two other students have been doing study in Mentawai for Siberut langur ( Presbytis poteziani) and Kloss's gibbon ( Hylobates klossii) however they do not give any presentation. Simakobu  (Simias concolor) and Mentawai macaques (Macaca siberu and Macaca pagensis)  haven't any update from participants. 

Pocket Guide of Mentawai Primates : a field guide reference for primate watching in Mentawai Island. official introduction conducted at NGOPI (Ngobrol Primata Indonesia), collaborative authors for this pocket guide book are : Kasih Putri Handayani, Ika Yuni Agustin, who did field work in Northen Siberut in 2011, and three members of Uma , i.e Mateus Sakaliau, Ismael Saumanuk, And Damianus Tateburuk. This book available for sell and can be purchased at Swaraowa’s booth during the conference, if you want to buy online please do through this link.

Pocket guide of Mentawai Primates

It was a great opportunity to introduce Mentawai primates and it’s cultural value among primatologist, with hope will gain more attention to support conservation fieldwork in Mentawai. The most important is to bring new experience and motivation for the Mentawaian who involved directly in this meeting, I am sure they will back to their native habitat with good memories that their primates and culture value received highest appreciation.

No comments:

Post a Comment