Palu Trip : ConsCamp and Refresh!

6 Feb

Actually since last year, my eyes aimed on an interesting status on Facebook, stated by someone from a conservation community called Tambora Muda and probably it would sound more and less just like this:

What if someday we gather in someplace, independently, to share many things in conservation as a moment for capacity building and knowledge transfer? Would it be interesting?

Then couple weeks later, there was the announcement of the annual Tambora Muda’s Conservation Camp. It would be held in Palu, Central Sulawesi, at 9-20 January 2018. Of course it’s an interesting event to join. But then to see the schedule and location made me think twice, it’s impossible for me.


Speaking about Tambora Muda community, this is a growing community for young researchers and young practitioners in Indonesia biodiversity conservation. Established in December 2015, I was following their activity by their monthly bulletin, “Erupsi”. Though their activity are easily can found in many kind of social medias.


I was curios about this community, most of the people, the contents, the activities are in the same disciplines such as biology or forestry and less people and issues that related to wildlife medicine, or even conservation medicine.  The fact that I’m a veterinarian who work in conservation, and really believe that conservation effort should run by various disciplines, also veterinary medicine has important roles in conservation biology (some people don’t know about this actually).  At least there are 3 things that related between veterinary medicine and conservation biology, (1) participation in wildlife capture and immobilization, (2) leadership or assistance in addressing wildlife health issues, and (3) leadership or assistance in addressing wildlife disease issues, including using wildlife as sentinels to identify new and emerging diseases or epidemics of old diseases. So those led me to email them and asked about it. Yet they revealed that actually there’s only one veterinarian actively involved and contributed in the community. Then the email became a longer conversation about their interest to ask me to  share my perspectives in their Conservation Camp event. This was a game changer.

Then the invitation letter reached me. I discussed it with my superior about the possibilities, start with a permit to leave my works for couple days and sponsor for the event. In the beginning, it’s not easy to convince that this is gonna be something with good impact to the organization. But in the end, I got the permit and sponsorship. So yess!

My class schedule was arranged on 18 January. So I decided to depart one day earlier. I chose a bad flight which was very early in the morning like 02.30 am. The problem was, the last shuttle bus to Soekarno-Hatta airport from Bogor was at 8 or 8.30 pm. Yet I got to work until 4 pm and reached the house almost 6 pm. I hadn’t packed my goods, just finished my presentation couple hours before. Luckily everything sets on time, though I had to change my pants first just a moment before I left to the bus terminal. I ripped it just in attempt to ride the ojek (damn!).

Thought that the journey to the airport would takes more hours, the fact it just around an hour. Well I got plenty hours stranded in the airport before boarding time. The hardest part was, staying alive from this boredom and sleepiness. Well then everything went smooth in the airplane, took off and flied. Bit turbulence couple minutes before landed, but yeah, everything’s ok. I finally back again in this Sulawesi island. I did spent some years during my childhood in Makassar, 2 years ago I visited Manado and now Palu.


sunrise view from a plane, above the sky, ready to land

Actually at that day there were also 2 speakers of the Conservation Camp who arrived. But they were couple hours after me. So I decided to call my friends for a short meet, before 10 am, which was the the meeting time between me, 2 other speakers and the committee. Yeah I met Faqih, who actually was my classmate during in the university and her wife also our junior colleague . Had breakfast, shower, some short chat with the guys and also Fadhil, their son, then I straight to the meeting point and left to Lore Lindu National Park.

The 2 remaining speakers were Satrio and Sephy. Satrio would talk about peat swamp habitat and its complex in conservation. He is WRI (World Research Institute) representative, very smart, spent his whole higher education in USA, a Ph.D. and younger than me (LOL)! The other one is Sephy. Nope, it’s a gentleman (remember to not judge a book by its cover?). He is a bat researcher would give a long session about bat studies, quite veterant (he is older than me, haha), has so much same interests like me, he’s cool yo.

Took like almost 2 hours to the national park, we stop in Tambing Lake, where the Conservation Camp of Tambora Muda was held. Spotted some familiar face like Nathan the reptile boy and Billy from Tasikoki rescue center. Met Marsya who emailed me earlier about this event. So the Tambing Lake is actually a tourism object in Lore Lindu National Park. The committee set the camp in its camping ground but then they decided to move some people to a hall nearby due the unfriendly weather. It’s cold, it’s in the mountain area. The fact that the place has just finished for some renovations due the big earthquake last year, but the place looked good, neat and quite clean (when less people come). Nathan said there were no reptile found during his surveys and some birds easy to spot.


Anyway on the first night, Sephy started his long session about bat studies, but the electricity went bad and made the class bit uncomfortable to follow. He also tried to apply a trap to capture the bat, but zero result that night. Yet I was very tired..I only slept like 2-3 hours and I wasn’t sure i could sleep well in the new place and cold like that. I went sleep with a big concern..what if the electricity failed again during my presentation (I still applied my “no laptop during conference or workshop policy”).

With the time difference there, I awake just like my biological hours, though it still bit dark, and no one else. Quite fresh after the sleep and a bit confident for my talk that day. I, Billy and Sephy talked about the electricity disturbance that might become a trouble for us. Luckily the committee asked the national park officer to check our generator and tried to fix it. Then the generator back to work again, electricity went on again. Then the committee asked me to do presentation before lunch. Considering the unstable power, so I said yes in the first time.

Well my talk was titled Conservation Medicine Practice. I tried to share perspective about conservation medicine.

1But before reached punchline, I tried to introduce to the participants about veterinarian, the works of veterinarian and talking about the animal health, I mentioned about zoonosis.


Shared some cases of zoonosis that exist in Indonesia and could spread with in the conservationist fieldwork. I told’em about how important biosecurity in our works is.


I pointed many things that could influence the spread of the disease and it ended in how we treat people, animal and our environment as one connection. That is a concept that sounded lately and known as one health concept.


As a punchline, I continued to explain about one emerging discipline that preserve the one health concept, which is the conservation medicine. Most literature define conservation medicine as an emerging , interdisciplinary field that studies the relationship between human, animal health and environmental condition.  But then I just knew that there is a misunderstanding of  conservation medicine definition in Indonesia, which become quite similar to wildlife veterinary medicine.


I don’t agree with the Indonesian terms, as I always believe that animal health, human and environmental are connected in one link and studied through many kind of discipline aspects. After defined the conservation medicine’s term, I did share some cases of wildlife disease outbreak and tried to explain in conservation medicine’s perspective.


As a closing, I played some videos of my works in IAR Indonesia (commercial breaks! :p). How bout the feedback? Quite impressing actually. At least around 3-4 person asked some questions related to animal welfare. Great feedback then!


What made me happier after the presentation went smooth was I joined the bat session again. That night we succeed to apply the mist nets and also the harps trap the morning after. We got a bat! No, we got bats!!

So then after the bat successfully captured, we put in bag and straight to hall for the examination. Here participants learned how to handle the bats, tried to identify the species and the sex, did morphometric, body weight measured and collected some ectoparasites (that’s my request actually!) Not every participants had deal with wildlife directly, so bit acceptable that some of them were too excited with the animal. But I warned many times to not point too much light or flash to the animals, to not touch them recklessly, or waste time too long for the handle.

For the biosecurity issues also bit concerning, since we don’t used proper minimum protection, the committee didn’t provide it too, so I hope in the future they would considered about this. But i appreciate how the guys were trying their best to run and set the stuff, thumbs up!

Well actually my flight was in 20th, but I decided to left in 19th.  I would leave the camp later on afternoon, but that the remaining speakers apparently had to fly back in the afternoon, so we had to left earlier together.

While the others quite in a rush to catch the flight, but at least we could hangout and took some pictures in some good spot in the seaside, in Palu. We also had spare time to shop souvenirs!


Then after the others flew, I decided to spent a night in Faqih’s house. But before stop in his house, I and the generous Fahri (PIC for pick-up, he was very welcome with our will and love to help us to take a picture!) had another sightseeing in the city, to the Tadulako University and visited the Nosarara Nosabatutu Monument, the peace monument of Poso’s conflict.


Tried to get the feels of the monument. It’s always hard for us to build this country, especially when we waste too much times and lives for intern conflict like this 😦 ..Anyway the place itself had very beautiful scenery, since it was on the high land. There you can spot great scenery of Palu when mountain meets seaside from the top view. This city is beautiful for sure!


Well then to end the night Faqih brought me to eat the Kaledo! The Palu’s dish! Basically beef and their bones, cooked like a soup. Quite light broth and seasoning, but tasty!

On to the next day, which was my last day in Palu. I woke very late, exhausted for the jetlag and tiredness from couple days before. Then Faqih, me and Fadhil had Palu’s breakfast style. Eating Putu with duo and Nasi Kuning in the beach while watching the sea.

Unfortunately it’s rain and we left earlier to his house. Then I packed my stuff and then ready to the airport. But before that, we went to eat Utadada. It’s just like a chicken in white curry and served with ketupat, we ordered the roasted chicken too and it all so tasty!! Really a great dish to end my journey in Palu.

So much refreshing for the journey, the food, the people, and ConsCamp was a great event. Too bad I couldn’t join for the whole event. Very glad and happy to see Faqih, Lia and their son, Fadhil. Thank you very much guys! Much appreciate for Marsya, Shera and the gank for this opportunity. Not forget to mention the generous Fahri who’d welcome to accompany me for short moment in Palu. Palu is a beautiful city for sure, their foods are outstanding too!

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