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Pramuka Bird Markets

In what seems like endless caves inside a complex of decades old intertwined stalls that rise and fall with the floors of unkept buildings inside the largest bird market of south east Asia., the Pramuka bird markets of Jakarta. Here lies the keeping grounds of 10s of 1000’s of birds ready for a quick sale and a slow death either way. No animal deserves the life and death akin to that of a throwaway plastic toy.
Here is a market that has been operating for more than 40 years. A market that is well known for also trading in protected species. Yet for decades continues to grow. While the last remaining habitats in Sumatra are fighting a losing battle against poaching the very market that contradicts all protection laws and negates the hard work of local and international NGO’s continues to flourish. Despite the epic issue of trading protected species, there are the moral issues. Is this what it comes down to? Is this the solution for our over populated cites and inability to balance sustainable growth from within ethical business? So we throw all moral values out the window to find a quick sale to buy the things we don’t need in order for the economy to grow and sustain our populations. Do we blame it on a lack of education, sure in part. Do we blame it on the lack of responsibility of those in positions of power to change this picture, absolutely. The local people are the only ones that can start the chain reaction for this to change. Making those in power take better responsibility by enforcing the laws that are made to stop exactly this kind of trade. The locals need to find better ways to build more sustainable incomes through better education. Many millions of people would rely on the kind of income that directly results in the destruction of the natural habitat of endangered species and the poaching and selling of all wildlife. This is also a cultural change that needs to start with a new generation from a very early age. Education programs in every province, city and village. Without this kind of change there is no hope.

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Rest Stop

Not a bad view in Sumatra to take a rest on my way to delivering a box of additional supplements to one thirsty girl. All part of hand-raising a baby elephant. My Sumatran girlfriend at the time who is now my wife helped deal with the red tape to purchase a new ride for my trips back and forth to the elephant conservation center in Seblat. A four hour journey in all. I would spend approximately 2 weeks at the elephant conservation center before returning to pick up more supplies from the city. Very rewarding process to watch a baby elephant go from a skinny little thing to a fat, happy and playful girl due to my commitment to her cause. Now the commitment continues with our other projects. Link in the bio.

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Camouflage Camera Traps

Our attempts to camouflage camera traps were met with mixed results. Poachers and loggers have an appetite for destruction if they spot a camera.

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Burning Bridges

The patrol unit of the province of Bengkulu Sumatra in the TWA Seblat Conservation Area burn a makeshift bridge used by poachers and loggers to get access deep into the conservation area for the purpose of logging and poaching endangered species. This is unfortunately a very common occurrence.

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Radio Collar Tracking

The FZS (Frankfurt Zoological Society) have been running some successful projects in the Jambi region of Sumatra. One of those being the tracking of wild elephants through the use of radio collars. By attaching a radio collar to one elephant in a herd the FZS team can effectively track the entre herd and can act quickly in the event the herd might get too close to a village. This helps prevent human/elephant conflict and further deaths of the critically endangered Sumatran elephant.

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Road Block

When you are on the way to a remote location to set camera traps and your patrol team come across a river full of water hyacinth plants for 2 kilometers. It took us 24 hours to meander our way through this mess to finally be on our way to our destination. Extending our trip by another 2 days we managed to get all cameras in place.

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Wild Elephants of Way Kambas

A gorgeous herd of wild elephants make their way across the Way Kambas National park in the early morning hours captured on the Berdiri (http://www.berdiri.org) camera traps.

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More Bad News

More bad news coming out of the province of Bengkulu in South Sumatra. Two elephant carcasses were discovered recently by villagers fishing in and around the Seblat TWA conservation area. No reports as to cause of death yet but will wait to hear any news the local conservation agency is currently investigating.

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Feeding Bona (VIDEO)

Ah remembering those days of commitment to feeding the precious Bona 4 times a day. Always the lunch time feed was very interesting, trekking into the jungle and never knowing exactly where Bona was but always she ended up finding me if I called her as she knew I had her favourite meal…

Feeding Bona from Bruce Levick on Vimeo.

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Remembering her 2nd Birthday

Remembering the days Bona turned 2. We made her a fruit “cake” in the shape of the two. She lapped it up in under 5 minutes.

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