SEE Turtles launched our Sea Turtle inclusivity Fund in 2021 as a way to increase inclusion, diversity, and local community participation in our field. Our first three winners were from Latin America, Keithlyn Rankin of Costa Rica, Luna Viera of Brazil, and Royner Carrasquero of Venezuela. We’re excited to announce our first winner from Asia, Busdar Marabatuan from PAMaLi Indonesia. We wanted to share an introduction provided by him below.
My name is Busdar, I love sea turtles. I was born to parents who are very close to the coast and the sea. I was born on a remote island in Indonesia, namely Marabatuan Island, Pulau Sembilan District, Kotabaru Regency, South Kalimantan Province. My education from elementary school to junior high school was completed on Marabatuan Island, but for high school I was forced to migrate to the district capital because at that time there was no high school on the island.
My familiarity and familiarity with the coast and the sea formed my character. I am a lover of biological natural resources and their ecosystems such as the presence of turtles on the surrounding islands. I am really very concerned about the level of threat to the turtle population, which has decreased drastically over time, mainly due to the impact of illegal hunting and habitat destruction.
Over time, my growing concern for the sustainability of turtles on Pulau Sembilan prompted me to approach and join friends who at that time were not yet a PAMaLi association but were just a youth community who longed for turtle conservation through turtle conservation activities. For about 10 years, together with friends in the youth community who care about turtles, they have voiced concerns about the fate of turtles, which at that time trading in eggs and a small portion of meat and scales was still very widespread and open even though the government of the Republic of Indonesia had actually banned it through the laws and regulations of the Republic of Indonesia. In 2015, I determined to deepen my knowledge and insight in the field of wildlife conservation by accepting a vacancy as a volunteer at PROFAUNA Indonesia, a local organization based on the island of Java, precisely in Malang City, East Java. There I gained a lot of knowledge and insight related to wildlife and forests, and had an internship as a Ranger in the Wehea Forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
The climax was at the 2015 Saijaan Expo, an exhibition event at the Regency level that showcased local products from every sub-district on Pulau Sembilan. At that time, the Pulau Sembilan stand also offered turtle eggs to be sold in a pack of 10 seeds for Rp. 50.000. We, along with the youth community who care about turtles (the forerunner of Pamali Indonesia) contacted local journalists to cover the state of the Pulau Sembilan stand. Sure enough, the Pulau Sembilan stand still offered the protected turtle eggs for sale. And when the news was brought up to the television media, it immediately provoked a reaction from the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries who was then held by Mrs. Susi Pudjiastuti.
After a few days, Mrs. Susi Pudjiastuti, the Minister, issued a circular addressed to Regional Heads, Governors, Mayors, and Regents to pay attention to the protection of turtles and their habitats in Indonesia. The Minister also ordered a work unit at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to go down to the field to inspect the Saijaan Expo exhibition arena. As a follow-up to the findings of the incident, the central government of the Republic of Indonesia through the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries held a National Action Plan (RAN) program for Turtles from 2016-2019 and I decided to return and join the National Action Plan for Turtle KKP RI as one of the Enumerators for Turtle Conservation in the period 2016-2018. Over the next 2 years, he went back to deepen his knowledge and insight in the field of turtle protection and conservation by joining as a Turtle Conservation Ranger in the turtle conservation program on the islands of Bilang Angka, Balembangan, and Sambit with the Indonesian Turtle Foundation in the period 2019-2021. (Note, SEE Turtles Billion Baby Turtles program has been supporting the work on Sambit Island as well.)
That's a bit of my life's journey, especially those related to my life which intersects with the issue of wildlife conservation and their habitat, especially turtles. I want to continue to learn new things about the issue of turtle conservation in the hope that I can continue to explore things that are relevant to my career and passion so that I have more knowledge and insights that develop so that I can make a positive contribution to turtle conservation, both in the short term and in the long term. I believe that one day I can reach a senior position with experience in the field of turtle conservation and then we can share knowledge and insights about turtle conservation with junior turtle conservation activists now and in the future.
In that period of time, both what I have traveled and what I will take will not be short and easy, but will be full of challenges. However, I will continue to adapt, establish relationships, and expand my network to turtle conservation activists, either nationally, regionally or internationally. At the same time, he remains active and productive in his activities in the field of turtle conservation that he is engaged in. My career goal in the position of Ranger Coordinator is to contribute to the development and progress of turtle conservation and strive to be an investment by creating a dynamic and innovative work environment.
The career I chose as Ranger Coordinator is closely related to my work experience, so I will try my best to make a positive contribution to turtle conservation. For me, applying for a job involved in the issue of turtle conservation is very interesting, especially since I can learn by doing. It is certain that this will be a very valuable experience for enriching my knowledge and broadening my horizons on the issue of turtle conservation. Next, I will use my passion and talent in working for the sake of changing the knowledge, views, actions of people around us, both in Indonesia and in the world, especially on Pulau Sembilan which is the most important turtle habitat in South Kalimantan. Finally, let's think locally and act globally. The welfare of the turtle is a mandate from God which is entrusted to his trusted creatures, yes we, humans.