You have conservation here, there are proboscis monkeys, NGOs, and local community (involvement)
Banjarmasin, S Kalimantan (ANTARA) - Curiak Island in Barito Kuala, South Kalimantan, is a special site within the Meratus Geopark area that cannot be found in any other geopark, Global Geopark Network's (GGN's) Secretary General Dr Guy Martini stated.

"You have conservation here, there are proboscis monkeys, NGOs, and local community (involvement)," Martini noted during a discussion at the Bekantan Research Station on Curiak Island, Barito Kuala District, South Kalimantan, Tuesday.

Martini visited South Kalimantan from October 25 to November 2, 2022, to evaluate readiness of the Meratus Geopark to become a UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGp).

Based on results of the analysis, Martini will provide opinions and recommendations for the government for developing the geopark.Related news: Saving Meratus Mountains with geopark concept

Martini stated that the geopark is not only about geology but it also connects all elements, including nature, culture, intangible heritage, local languages, ​​and folklore.

The fundamental question for an earth park is how the community is involved in its development, so that they can build a sense of belonging, he remarked.

Curiak Island in the Barito River delta is a conservation site for proboscis monkeys, a typical primate of Kalimantan, managed by the Indonesian Bekantan Friends (SBI) Foundation.

The area is an ecotourism destination visited by several students, including foreign students.

SBI Chair Amalia Rizki said they involve local communities in ecotourism development, such as by preparing mangrove rambai tree seeds.

Local villagers can also benefit from the klotok (wooden boat) rental.

Related news: Meratus Geopark oldest natural lab in Indonesia: researcher

Rizki remarked that visitors were invited to conduct planting of mangroves that are the staple diet of proboscis monkeys.

The increased number of rambai trees is expected to increase the proboscis monkey population and also boost fish population in the river, so that local fishermen can derive economic benefits, she remarked.

Meanwhile, Deputy Secretary of the Meratus Geopark Management Agency Ali Mustofa said Curiak Island could be included in one of the sites in the Meratus Geopark.

The island will be included in the dossier that would be submitted to UNESCO in mid-November for the UGGp status, Mustofa stated.

Related news: UNESCO team reviews Meratus Geopark for UGGp status

Related news: UNESCO assessors to visit Meratus Geopark in South Kalimantan

Reporter: Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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