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Rio the Malayan Racer

Some more good news to share with you all today ! 😀

We rescued a little snake, the “Malayan racer” (Coelognathus flavolineatus), in front of my house together with a few local kids.

We decided to give him the name “Rio”, to let the children familiarise themselves and not be scared with reptiles – especially snakes.

So, earlier, I heard yelling outside my house and I saw there was a snake trying to fight a big chicken. Unfortunately, some of the kids tried to kill the snake by throwing stones and branches at it. Immediately, I jumped out of my seat and ran as fast as I could to STOP! them all. Finally I caught the little snake.

The kids who throw stone and branch asked me, “Why did you stop us killing this venomous snake?”
I told them that certain kinds of snake do not have any venom – like this one. They believed that all snakes were venomous and could kill them. I felt so proud to be their ‘older brother’ (kakak in Indonesian) and their teacher, when some of younger kids said:

“So many snake eat rats on our plantations and our paddy fields, so we must not kill them all!”

After that, they argued a little about the snake, and I tried to teach them the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes, and what we should do when seeing a snake or – God forbid – getting bitten.

Some of kids were very curious, and looked long and hard at the snake. I let them touch it, for some it was the first time in their life, and I saw a beautiful response to the little snake. Some of them said its skin was so soft, and its eyes so cool! A few were still scared about snake… Gotcha! They will be the next helpers to join me on a search for reptiles.

After that, we released together Rio in a good habitat far from the school. They’re still wondering why I wasn’t scared with snake.. 😀

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Three little kittens

I have wonderful news to share! 
Slowly, but surely, we're seeing proactivity to save our wildlife in southern Sumatra. Meet 'Leon' – a leopard cat (Prionailurus Bengalensis.) He was rescued by a villager who found him with two other siblings on patch of cleared land yesterday. In total I got three kittens (Leon, Leonita, and Tiger) and they're in my care here, supported by lot of people
The villager was taken aback when he found three kittens which looked like leopards crawling on the open land. He took them all and brought them to us. He knew these cats from a TV show, which explained they were under legal protection, and he called some of his colleagues involved with wildlife conservation.

I'm glad more people are protecting biodiversity in their own way, although oftentimes they take the wrong path. We must provide education, and let people know what work we do, so that villagers will re-release endangered species back into the wild – and not into the black market for extra cash.

Thanks to the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Agency of South Sumatra and Agroforestry Management Agency of Lakitan, who took part in monitoring these leopard cats 

Update: the local newspaper reported on this story, and I got noticed in town!

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‘Tommy’ the Slow Loris

We had an absolute blast today!

A wild slow loris (Nycticebus Coucang) was rescued and released back into the wild. We named him 'Tommy'. We'd received information yesterday from a student that a slow loris had appeared in the village earlier. We tried to look for him, but found nothing.

Suddenly,  a young man called to me, and said he'd found a slow loris on his house in the early morning. I asked him: "What did you do with the slow loris?" He gave me a bag and he told me that the slow loris is safe; he was inside the bag.

"Please, release him back into the wild, don't let him get more stressed" the young man said. Our conversation attracted the attention of some other villagers. A student among them excitedly informed us that kukang – a.k.a. slow loris – are protected by law and it's illegal to sell them as a pet.

I was so happy when I heard that. Our education programme can truly change the mindset of villagers, and had these two individuals not understood environmental education, this slow loris may have been sold to traffickers. We hope the indigenous peoples will preserve their wonderful biodiversity by their own hands. And sooner, rather than too late 



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