The Papuan Environmentalist, Alex Waisimon, Received the Kalpataru Award from The President

Image from: www.wwf.or.id
Image from: www.wwf.or.id

Efforts to preserve the Birds of Paradise made by Alex Waisimon received appreciation from the government. At the height of the Environment Day celebrations taking place at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Alex successfully brought home the Kalpataru Trophy.

One of the 10 recipients of Kalpataru’s top award for Warrior and environmentalist 2017, Alex Waisimon, emphasized that the rescue of the Birds of Paradise is directly related to a forest maintenance. Kalpataru is an award given to individuals or groups for their services in preserving the environment in Indonesia. Kalpataru is Sanskrit which meaning the tree of life (Kalpavriksha).

The government considered Alex’s activities as important for the preservation of the Bird of Paradise. When President Joko Widodo gave a speech, Alex had the opportunity to dialogue with President directly. “I take care of the forest and habitat (Bird of Paradise),” Alex said in front of Jokowi, Wednesday, August 2, 2017.

He explains that the existence of Birds of Paradise which including endangered species and must continue to be preserved. Today, the populations of the Bids of Paradise are threatened by deforestation. Alex also felt called to keep these Papuan original animals. Every day during the last two years Alex came to the habitat of Birds of Paradise in the forest area of 19 hectares. He observed the dietary habit and customs of Birds of Paradise from morning to evening. According to Alex, there are seven species of Birds of Paradise in the forest in Nimbokrang Village, Jayapura District. So far, people’s knowledge of Cendrawasih is limited to one species only. In fact, he said, there are 43 species of Birds of Paradise. “We are recording it too,” he said. (tempo.co).

Alex’s efforts to keep the Birds of Paradise was not done alone. He formed the group of Nature Lovers Isyo Hill’s Repang Muaif by inviting the tribes in Nimbokrang District not to cut down the Iron Tree. Because the tree is a source of food for Birds of Paradise. “If there is no Iron Tree then the Birds of Paradise can lose its food”, said Alex.

The group also built a natural school and teaches local languages to children because the local languages claimed to have been rarely used. In addition, Alex along with 10 tribes in Nimbokrang agreed to release 98 thousand hectares of forest to be a conservation area. All parties agreed not to cut the conservation forest. “The forest is a treasure, so it must be guarded and protected,” he said.

Alex admitted so touched deeply by the award given by the President of the Republic of Indonesia. According to him, what his receives is representing all of the people of Papua. “In the future, there will be more Papuan people who have to get this award. And for that it needs a hard work,” he said, hoping that what he receives becomes the motivation for all people in Papua, specifically in Jayapura District.

At the Kalpataru award ceremony, President Joko Widodo called on to all parties to safeguard the forests and their habitats. Jokowi asserted all types of forests in Indonesia should not be used for the interests of elements, groups and certain groups that negatively impact the survival of the people.

Keywords: Papua, West Papua, Birds of Paradise, environment, Papuan, environmentalist, conservation, forest, preservation, nature

Sakhiyatun K (MaCDIS Researcher)