FLORES ISLAND 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flores (Indonesian: Pulau Flores) is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, a group of islands in the eastern half of Indonesia. The population was 1,831,000 in the 2010 census and the largest town is Maumere. The name Flores is derived from the Portuguese for “flowers”.

Flores is located east of Sumbawa and Komodo and west of Lembata and the Alor Archipelago. To the southeast is Timor. To the south, across the Sumba Strait is Sumba island and to the north, beyond the Flores Sea, is Sulawesi.

Among all islands containing Indonesian territory, Flores is the 10th most populous after Java, Sumatra, Borneo (Kalimantan), Sulawesi, New Guinea, Bali, Madura, Lombok, and Timor and also the 10th biggest island of Indonesia.

Etymology     

Unlike most islands in the Indonesian archipelago, the name Flores was given by the Portuguese, from Cabo de Flores (Cape of Flowers), the Portuguese term for the eastern part of the island. This part of the island, originally called Kopondai, was so named by the Portuguese because of the flowering Delonix regia trees found there. The original name of Flores was Nipa, referring to the serpent.

History

Portuguese traders and missionaries came to Flores in the 16th century, mainly to Larantuka and Sikka. Their influence is still discernible in Sikka’s language, culture and religion. The first Portuguese visit took place in 1511, through the expedition of António de Abreu and his vice-captain Francisco Serrão, en route through the Sunda islands.

The Dominican order was extremely important in this island, as well as in the neighbouring islands of Timor and Solor. When in 1613 the Dutch attacked the Fortress of Solor, the population of this fort, led by the Dominicans, moved to the harbor town of Larantuka, on the eastern coast of Flores. This population was mixed, of Portuguese and local islanders descent and Larantuqueiros, Topasses or, as Dutch knew them, the ‘Black Portuguese’ (Zwarte Portuguezen).

The Larantuqueiros or Topasses became the dominant sandalwood trading people of the region for the next 200 years. This group used Portuguese as the language for worship, Malay as the language of trade and a mixed dialect as mother tongue. This was observed by William Dampier, an English privateer visiting the Island in 1699:

These [the Topasses] have no Forts, but depend on their Alliance with the Natives: And indeed they are already so mixt, that it is hard to distinguish whether they are Portuguese or Indians. Their Language is Portuguese; and the religion they have, is Romish. They seem in Words to acknowledge the King of Portugal for their Sovereign; yet they will not accept any Officers sent by him. They speak indifferently the Malayan and their own native Languages, as well as Portuguese.

In 1846, Dutch and Portuguese initiated negotiations towards delimiting the territories but these negotiations led nowhere. In 1851 Lima Lopes, the new governor of Timor, Solor and Flores, agreed to sell eastern Flores and the nearby islands to the Dutch in return for a payment of 200,000 Florins in order to support his impoverished administration. Lima Lopes did so without the consent of Lisbon and was dismissed in disgrace, but his agreement was not rescinded and in 1854 Portugal ceded all its historical claims on Flores. After this, Flores became part of the territory of Dutch East Indies.

During World War II a Japanese invasion force landed at Reo on 14 May 1942 and occupied Flores. After the war Flores became part of independent Indonesia. On 12 December 1992, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale occurred, killing 2,500 people in and around Maumere, including islands off the North coast.

Administration

Flores is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province. The island along with smaller minor islands are split into eight regencies (local government districts); from west to east these are: Manggarai Barat (West Manggarai), Manggarai Tengah (Central Manggarai), Manggarai Timur (East Manggarai), Ngada, Nagekeo, Ende, Sikka and Flores Timur (East Flores). Flores has 39.1% of the East Nusa Tenggara provincial population as of 2010, and the most Indonesians of all islands in the province.

Main Cities in Flores are Labuan Bajo, Ruteng, Bajawa, Ende, Maumere and Larantuka

  • Labuan Bajo, 188 724 inhabitants
  • Ruteng, 34 569 inhabitants
  • Bajawa, 44 000 inhabitants
  • Ende, 60 000 inhabitants
  • Maumere, 52 921 inhabitants

Flora and fauna

The west coast of Flores is one of the few places, aside from the island of Komodo itself, where the Komodo dragon can be found in the wild, and is part of Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kelimutu National Park is the second national park designated on Flores to protect endangered species. The Flores giant rat is also endemic to the island, and Verhoeven’s giant tree rat was formerly present. These giant rodents are considered examples of island gigantism.

Flores was also the habitat of several extinct dwarf forms of the proboscidean Stegodon, the most recent (Stegodon florensis insularis) disappearing approximately 12,000 years ago and the diminutive Homo floresiensis. It is speculated by scientists that limited resources and an absence of advanced predators made the few megafaunal species that reached the island subject to insular dwarfism. The presence of Trigonoceps vultures indicates that the island bore mammalian carnivores at some point.

Homo floresiensis

In September 2003, at Liang Bua Cave in western Flores, paleoanthropologists discovered small skeletons that they described as a previously unknown hominin species, Homo floresiensis.[12] These are informally named hobbits and appear to have stood about 1 metre (3.3 feet) tall.

This hominin had originally been considered to be remarkable for its survival until relatively recent times, only 12,000 years ago. However, by 2016, more extensive stratigraphic and chronological work has pushed the dating of the most recent evidence of their existence back to 50,000 years ago.

 Culture

There are many languages spoken on the island of Flores, all of them belonging to the Austronesian family. In the centre of the island in the districts of Ngada, Nagekeo, and Ende there is what is variously called the Central Flores Dialect Chain or the Central Flores Linkage. Within this area there are slight linguistic differences in almost every village. At least six separate languages are identifiable. These are from west to east: Ngadha, Nage, Keo, Ende, Lio and Palu’e, which is spoken on the island with the same name of the north coast of Flores. Locals would probably also add So’a and Bajawa to this list, which anthropologists have labeled dialects of Ngadha.

The peoples of Flores are almost entirely Roman Catholic Christians, whereas most other Indonesians are Muslim. As a consequence, Flores may be regarded as surrounded by a religious border. The prominence of Catholicism on the island results from its colonisation by Portugal. In other parts of Indonesia with significant Christian populations, such as the Maluku Islands and Sulawesi, the geographical divide is less rigid and Muslims and Christians sometimes live side by side. Flores thereby also has less religious violence that has sporadically occurred in other parts of Indonesia. There are several churches on the island.

Tourism

The most famous tourist attraction in Flores is the 1,639-metre-high (5,377-foot) Kelimutu volcano which containing three colored lakes, located in the district of Ende close to the town of Moni, although you can also visit Inierie vulcano near Bajawa town. These crater lakes are in the caldera of a volcano, and fed by a volcanic gas source, resulting in highly acidic water. The colored lakes change colors on an irregular basis, depending on the oxidation state of the lake from bright red through green and blue.

Labuan Bajo town located on the western tip is often used by tourists as a base to visit Komodo and Rinca islands. Labuan bajo also attracts scuba divers, as whale sharks inhabit the waters around Labuan bajo.

The Luba and Bena villages include traditional houses in Flores, Bena is also noted for its Stone Age megaliths.  Larantuka, on the isle’s eastern end, is known for its Holy Week festivals.

In recent years, local tourist firms around Kelimutu have begun promoting cycling tours around Flores, some of which take up to five or six days depending on the particular program.

Economy

In addition to tourism, the main economic activities on Flores are agriculture, fishing and seaweed production. The primary food crops being grown on Flores are rice, maize, sweet potato and cassava, while the main cash crops are coffee, coconut, candle nut and cashew. Flores is one of the newest origins for Indonesian coffee. Previously, most Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) from Flores was blended with other origins. Now, demand is growing for this coffee because of its heavy body and sweet chocolate, floral and woody notes.

Kelimutu Three Colored Lake

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kelimutu (pronounced [kəliˈmutu]) is a volcano, close to the small town of Moni in central Flores island in Indonesia. The volcano is around 50 km to the east of Ende, Indonesia, the capital of Ende regency in East Nusa Tenggara province.The mountain has three volcanic crater lakes that differ in color.

The science of the Kelimutu lakes is relatively well-known. Lake colors periodically change due to adjustments in the oxidation-reduction status of the fluid of each lake, and also considering the abundance of different major elements, such as iron and manganese. Oxidation-reduction status depends on the balance of volcanic gas input and rainfall rate, and is thought to be mediated by the groundwater system in the volcano itself. The colors in the lakes change independently from each other, as each has its own unique connectivity to the underlying volcano’s activity. Between January and November 2016, the colors of the craters changed six times. Although it is widely believed that the changes are unpredictable, it is more accurate to say that the lack of any regular monitoring of the volcanic system precludes scientists from having the data necessary to drive widely available predictive models.

Geological Details

The volcano contains three striking summit crater lakes of varying colors. Tiwu Ata Bupu (Lake of Old People) is usually blue and is the westernmost of the three lakes. The other two lakes, Tiwu Ko’o Fai Nuwa Muri (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) are separated by a shared crater wall and are typically green or red respectively. The lake colors vary on a periodic basis. Subaqueous fumaroles are the probable cause of active upwelling that occurs at the two eastern lakes.

The lakes have been a source of minor phreatic eruptions in historical time. The summit of the compound 1639-m-high Kelimutu volcano is elongated two km in a WNW-ESE direction; the older cones of Kelido and Kelibara are located respectively three km to the north and two km to the south. The scenic lakes are a popular tourist destination.

Kelimutu is also of interest to geologists because the three lakes have different colors yet are at the crest of the same volcano. According to Kelimutu National Park officials, the colour changes as a result of chemical reactions resulting from the minerals contained in the lake perhaps triggered by volcano gas activity. However, it is more accurate to refer to the color changes as being driven by oxidation-reduction chemical dynamics. Kawah Putih lake in West Java, south of Bandung, is another crater lake in Indonesia with some similarities to the lakes at Kelimutu.

Tourism

In the early days of developing the local national park in the Kelimutu area, there were some disputes with local communities over the use of the resources. More recently, forest rangers have worked to develop better relations with nearby village communities and overall management has improved.

Kelimutu is one of the mountains listed as a ribu in Indonesia which are mountains in Indonesia which are more than 1,000 meters high.

The area is said to have begun to attract attention after being noticed by a regional Dutch military commander, B. van Suchtelen in 1915 and became more well-known after Y. Bouman wrote about the site in 1929. 

Komodo Dragon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), also known as the Komodo monitor, is a species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar. A member of the monitor lizard family Varanidae, it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of 3 metres (10 ft) in rare cases and weighing up to approximately 70 kilograms (150 lb).

Their unusually large size has been attributed to island gigantism, since no other carnivorous animals fill the niche on the islands where they live.  However, recent research suggests the large size of Komodo dragons may be better understood as representative of a relict population of very large varanid lizards that once lived across Indonesia and Australia, most of which, along with other megafauna, died out after the Pleistocene (as a result of human activity). Fossils very similar to V. komodoensis have been found in Australia dating to greater than 3.8 million years ago, and its body size remained stable on Flores, one of the handful of Indonesian islands where it is currently found, over the last 900,000 years, “a time marked by major faunal turnovers, extinction of the island’s mega fauna, and the arrival of early hominids by 880 ka [kiloannums].

As a result of their size, these lizards dominate the ecosystems in which they live. Komodo dragons hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds, and mammals. It has been claimed that they have a venomous bite; there are two glands in the lower jaw which secrete several toxic proteins. The biological significance of these proteins is disputed, but the glands have been shown to secrete an anticoagulant. Komodo dragons’ group behavior in hunting is exceptional in the reptile world. The diet of big Komodo dragons mainly consists of Timor deer, though they also eat considerable amounts of carrion. Komodo dragons also occasionally attack humans.

Mating begins between May and August, and the eggs are laid in September. About 20 eggs are deposited in abandoned megapode nests or in a self-dug nesting hole. The eggs are incubated for seven to eight months, hatching in April, when insects are most plentiful. Young Komodo dragons are vulnerable and therefore dwell in trees, safe from predators and cannibalistic adults. They take 8 to 9 years to mature, and are estimated to live up to 30 years.

Komodo dragons were first recorded by Western scientists in 1910. Their large size and fearsome reputation make them popular zoo exhibits. In the wild, their range has contracted due to human activities, and they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. They are protected under Indonesian law, and a national park, Komodo National Park, was founded to aid protection efforts.

KOMODO NATIONAL PARK

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Komodo National Park is a national park in Indonesia located within the Lesser Sunda Islands in the border region between the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara. The park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Padar and Rinca, and 26 smaller ones with a total area of 1,733 km2 (603 km2 of it land). The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard. Later it was dedicated to protecting other species, including marine species. In 1991 the national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Komodo National Park has been selected as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The waters surrounding Komodo island also contains rich marine biodiversity. Komodo Island is also a part of the Coral Triangle, which contains some of the richest marine biodiversity on Earth.

Komodo National Park was established in 1980 and was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1991. The park was initially established to conserve the unique Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), first discovered by the scientific world in 1912 by Lieutenant J. K. H. van Steyn van Henbroek, the Civil Administrator in Reo, Flores Island. 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. Descendants 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.

Geography and Climate

The rugged terrain of Komodo Island with few trees makes it one of the driest locations in Indonesia. The park comprises a coastal section of western Flores, the three larger islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, 26 smaller islands and the surrounding waters of the Sape Straights. The islands of the national park are of volcanic origin. The terrain is generally rugged, characterized by rounded hills, with altitudes up to 735 m. The climate is one of the driest of Indonesia with annual rainfall between 800mm and 1000mm. Mean daily temperatures in the dry season from May to October are around 40 °C.

Flora and Fauna

The hot and dry climate of the park, characterized by savannah vegetation, makes it a good habitat for the endemic Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). Their populations are restricted to the islands of Komodo (1,700), Rinca (1,300), Gili Motang (100), Gili Dasami (100), and Flores (c. 2,000), while extinct on Padar.

Cloud forests appear only in few areas above 500 metres but they provide habitat to several endemic flora. Coastal vegetation includes mangrove forest, which generally appear in the sheltered bays of the three larger islands.

Fringing and patch coral reefs are extensive and best developed on the north-east coast of Komodo. The park is rich in marine life, including whale sharks, ocean sunfish, manta rays, eagle rays, pygmy seahorse, false pipefish, clown frogfish, nudibranchs, blue-ringed octopus, sponges, tunicates, and coral.

Varieties of cetaceans inhabit in adjacent waters from smaller sized dolphins to sperm whales and even blue whales. Omura’s whales, one of the least known of rorquals have been confirmed to range waters within the park. Endangered dugongs still live in Komodo areas as well.

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 Including the Timor deer, wild boar, water buffalo, crab eating macaques and civet. Several of the reptiles and birds are Australian in origin. These include the orange-footed scrubfowl, the lesser sulpher crested cockatoo, and the helmeted friarbird.

The most famous of Komodo National Park’s reptiles is the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). It is the world’s largest lizard and is among the world’s largest reptiles and can reach 3m or more in length and weigh over 70 kg.

Twelve terrestrial snake species are found on the island in addition to marine species. Snakes include the Javan spitting cobra (Naja sputatrix), Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii), white-lipped pit viper (Trimeresurus albolabris), blue lipped sea krait (Laticauda laticaudata), and Timor python (Python timoriensis). Lizards include nine skink species (Scinidae), geckos (Gekkonidae), limbless lizards (Dibamidae), and the monitor lizards such as the Komodo dragon (Varanidae). Frogs include the Asian bullfrog (Kaloula baleata), the endemic Komodo cross frog (Oreophryne jeffersoniana) and Oreophryne darewskyi. Frogs are typically found at higher, moister altitudes. The saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) was once present within the park in coastal areas including mangrove swamps but is now extinct within the area.

Mammals found within the park include the Timor rusa deer (Cervus timorensis), the main prey of the Komodo dragon, horses (Equus sp.), water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), wild boar (Sus scrofa vittatus), crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis), Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus lehmanni), the endemic Rinca rat (Rattus rintjanus), and fruit bats. Domestic mammals on within the park include goats, cats and dogs which are feral.

One of the main bird species is the orange-footed scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardti), a ground dwelling bird. In areas of savanna, 27 species were observed. The zebra dove (Geopelia striata) and spotted dove (Spilopelia chinensis) were the most common species. In mixed tropical deciduous habitat, 28 bird species were observed, and helmeted friarbird (Philemon buceroides), green imperial pigeon (Ducula aenea), and lemon-bellied white-eye (Zosterops chloris) were the most common. Other birds include vibrantly coloured species such as green junglefowl (Gallus varius), great-billed parrot (Tanygnathus megalorynchos), and the critically endangered lesser sulpher crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea). Two eagle species are found in the park, the white-bellied sea eagle and the extremely rare Flores hawk-eagle which is present on Rinca and Flores and reported but unconfirmed on Komodo Island.

Conservation

The island of Padar and part of Rinca were established as nature reserves in 1938. Komodo Island was declared a nature reserve in 1965, and in January 1977 as a biosphere reserve under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme. The three islands were declared a national park in 1980, which was later extended to include the surrounding marine area and a section of Flores in 1984. In 1991 the national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Since 1995, the national park authority has been supported by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), an American environmental organization. A new management plan was co-authored with TNC and implemented in 2000 to address the problem of increasing resource exploitation, both marine and terrestrial. Most pressure on marine resources originates from fishing communities and commercial enterprises from outside the park. However, regulations and restrictions on resource use impact mostly on park residents, who have few options to make a living but rely on what the park has to offer. The provision of alternative livelihoods is part of the overall management strategy, but communities within the park are yet to benefit from appropriate measures addressing their needs.

After 5 years operation, in 2010 Putri Naga Komodo’s (PNK) permit was compromised. PNK was a non-profit joint venture company partially funded by the TNC and the World Bank to operate tourist facilities in the hope of eventually making the park financially self-sustaining. After that, more illegal fishermen arrived as enforcement declined greatly following the exit of TNC, which had helped fight destructive fishing practices. In early 2012, dive operators and conservationists found many desolate coral sites, reminiscent of grey moonscapes. Illegal fishermen continue to blast sites with ‘bombs’ in a process known as blast fishing. The fisherman use a mixture of fertilizer and kerosene in beer bottles as explosives, or use squeeze bottles to squirt cyanide into the coral in order to stun and capture fish. In the past two years more than 60 illegal fishermen have been arrested. One of the suspects was shot and killed after he tried to evade capture by throwing fish bombs at the rangers.

Human habitation

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. 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. At the 2010 Census, Komodo village had 1,508 inhabitants and Papagaran village had 1,262 inhabitants. 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 admitted 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 who do graduate from elementary school 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 Muslims. 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 Indonesian. Bajo language is the language used for daily communication in most communities.

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