November 2010 Archives

There are many beautiful bays in the world.  However, if one is searching for the most picturesque and most breathtaking bay of them all, Ha Long Bay, off the north coast of Vietnam, would be a good place to start.  Its 60 square miles are home to 1,960 limestone islets of various shapes and sizes.   In Vietnamese, Ha Long translates to "descending dragon" in honor of the creation legend surrounding this bay.  Once you experience the beauty of this place you will understand why the original dragon decided to stay here rather than visit other parts of the globe.

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Above, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. 
Seacology has supported several related projects to help save one of the world's most endangered primates, the Cat Ba Langur.  This  relative of the monkey is found only on Cat Ba Island in Ha Long Bay.  In the 1960s, there were thousands of these beautiful creatures living on Cat Ba.  However, they began being poached for monkey bone paste for the Chinese "medicinal" market.  The hunting was so effective that 10 years ago the population was down to a mere 50. The Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Population discovered that the langur poachers were making about $60 per month.  They asked Seacology to support a langur guardian program whereby they would pay the poachers $70 a month to guard the langurs from poaching.  Seacology's response was an emphatic yes.  The project was so successful that Seacology made a second grant to enable the Zoological Society to purchase a much needed boat for the langur rangers and communication equipment so they could quickly be in touch when poachers were spotted.  More recently the Zoological Society asked Seacology for funding to relocate three isolated female langurs who were trapped on an offshore island to the main island of Cat Ba so they could breed with male langurs.

Seacology Program Manager Karen Peterson recently returned from a trip to Indonesia, where she traveled with our Indonesia Field Representative Arnaz Mehta and visited Seacology projects.  One of their site visits was on the island of Java, where Seacology has funded a multi-purpose community building in support of the replanting of 72 acres and protecting a total of 267 acres of no-take rainforest. Below is Karen's account of her visit.

On October 24, Arnaz and I flew to Bandung, Java, overnighted, then were met at the hotel by Mandalemekar project coordinator Irman Meilandi.  We then drove four hours to the village.  Though the road approaching the village was not of the same level of ruggedness as what we had experienced on Flores Island a few days earlier, rain has made access into and out of Mandalamekar challenging.  Fortunately, the roads were in decent shape for our arrival.  

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Right, Karen, Arnaz, and Mandalamekar villagers at their local waterfall. 

Top Travel Destinations

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What are today's hottest travel destinations? You guessed it--islands! Lonely Planet, one of the world's leading travel guides, just released its annual list of the top 10 sites to visit. From Polynesia to Iceland, islands dominate the list:

Of the mainland sites, two--Sinai, Egypt, and Istria, Croatia--are peninsulas (or, etymologically, nearly islands!) and another is a coastal region--West Coast, USA. Only one inland destination made the list: Cappadocia, Turkey. So if you are planning a trip in the near future, islands are clearly a good choice.

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