By Dian Hasan | July 15, 2010
The majestic Sumatran elephants and their Mahouts in Way Kambas National Park, Lampung. Not as common a sight as their cousins in Thailand, but Indonesia is the last bastion of elephants in South East Asia (2000: estimated that only 2,000 – 2,700 wild elephants remain)
Arguably, Indonesia’s tourism industry might not be as well developed as some of her Southeast Asian neighbors, and that is of course not due to a lack of attractions. After all, Indonesia is home to Bali, her crown jewel tourism magnet. Indonesia’s entire modern tourism industry seemingly is centered on Bali, leaving other areas relatively undeveloped.
In the past, such condition may have been considered to be behind the times, but in the advent of raised awareness regarding sustainability and eco-consciousness, this is Indonesia’s blessing. For this vast archipelago, with the world’s second richest rainforest biodiversity after the Amazon, is most probably the world’s last eden! An endangered eden that is fast disappearing. And it’s up to us all to strive for a sustainable development that champions economic progress without compromising natural resources for future generations.
It is outside Bali, in the unexplored corners of Sumatra, Borneo and Eastern Indonesia, where Indonesia’s greatest gift to mankind is being conserved – her fauna and flora. The Komodo “dragon” monitor lizard, Orangutan, Java Rhino, Sumatran Elephant, Rhino and Tiger are just some of the more famous residents – whose habitat can only be found in Indonesia. The fate and survival of these endangered species depend on the global community coming together with the right initiatives.
And while Indonesia is not immune from a tug-o-war between economic growth and conservation and sustainable efforts, it is a balancing act that Indonesia is starting to take seriously, with the help of various international organizations.
Ecotourism is one way, in which these efforts are executed, raising awareness of the animals’ plight, and helping generate much-needed revenue to help with conservation efforts, while practicing responsible tourism.
Eco Lodges Indonesia (ELI) is a pioneering, ecotourism provider operating in an emerging economy, with a focus on biodiversity conservation and enhancement of local community livelihoods. Eco Lodges Indonesia runs four ecolodges in Indonesia’s major National Parks, and partakes in the protection of these endangered animals. The other objective is to improve the livelihoods of local communities where the properties are located.
Eco Lodges Indonesia is one of the first to pursue international sustainable tourism certification in Indonesia, and is committed to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals through their ecotourism investments and operations.
Satwa Elephant Ecolodge, Way Kambas National Park, Lampung, Sumatra.
Satwa Elephant Eco Lodge is only a short walk of 500 meters from Way Kambas Park entrance, adjoining a pleasant rural village. Employment and locally purchased goods by the Eco Lodge significantly help the village and give the local people the opportunity to improve numerous skills for alternative employment.
Way Kambas National Park covers an area of 130,000 hectares, comprising swamp forest and lowland rain forest, it was designated a reserve in 1972. It has long been known for being home to a significant population of Sumatran elephants, some Sumatran tigers and Malaysian tapirs, and numerous bird species. In the 1990s, it was revealed that the park was also home to a little-known or seen population of around 40 Sumatran rhinos – one of only three surviving populations in Indonesia.
Set in an extensive walled garden full of tropical fruit trees are four cottages each with spacious rooms sleeping up to four people with spring beds, ceiling fans, hot water showers and western toilets. There is a desk and computer power point and a verandah and comfortable chairs. All guest cottages, facilities, some perimeter lighting and office are powered by renewable solar energy. The windows are fully screened. In a delightful open restaurant, meals give a taste of Indonesian recipes and ingredients, with a full western breakfast to start the day, or a picnic box.
1. Depends on the natural environment
2. Ecologically sustainable
3. Proven to contribute to conservation
4. Features an environmental training program
5. Incorporates cultural considerations
6. Provides a net economic return to the local community.
The company’s four Eco Lodges emphasize wildlife conservation and improving the livelihoods of local communities where the properties are located. Conservation projects associated with the Eco Lodges make regular contributions to protecting the wildlife.
Eco Lodges will also address the education and training needs of the protected areas of the Ecolodges’ immediate vicinity: