Bali, Java, Borneo, Komodo, Sulawesi
Indonesia has an ally in Colorado who hopes to attract more visitors to Southeast Asia to help save Indonesia’s tigers, orangutans, elephants, rhinos and other endangered species. Initiatives that support wildlife also create sustainable jobs for locals.
Colorado native Gary R. Chandler, a public affairs and environmental consultant in Denver, in collaboration with Hippocrene Books (New York, NY), just published the second edition of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Chandler will use the book as a platform to help this island nation develop more eco-tourism opportunities, which can help the local populations preserve the rainforest, while discouraging illegal wildlife poaching. The new book offers travelers valuable insights and tips for a variety of activities, including jungle adventures, wildlife viewing, volcano treks, scuba diving, and the indulgence of Bali’s spas and resorts. The new guidebook also includes a dictionary and phrase guide to help visitors communicate effectively in the Indonesian language.
Indonesia has some of the largest and most exotic islands in the world, including Bali, Borneo, Java, Komodo, New Guinea, and Sumatra—more than 17,500 islands in all. With more than 210 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most-populous country in the world. These islands only represent one percent of the world’s land area, but they are home to more than 10 percent of all mammal species—more known mammal species than any other country. As a result of a growing human population, Indonesia now has more endangered mammals than any other country, including the orangutan, Javan rhinoceros, Komodo dragon, Sumatran tiger, and the Sumatran elephant.
“Indonesia has some of the most amazing biodiversity in the world, but many ecosystems are under siege by the economic pressures of this rapidly growing nation,” Chandler said. “The country is doing its best to balance development and conservation, but it’s a challenge. If we can help this beautiful country expand its eco-tourism opportunities, it will help the locals support their families, while defending their ecosystems, which will benefit the country and the world.”
Chandler penned his first Indonesia guidebook in 1994. He also has written eight other books about environmental success stories from around the world. The new guidebook has been updated, expanded and published to emphasize wildlife and marine destinations across numerous Indonesian islands. Chandler will donate profits from the book to wildlife conservation groups that are active in Indonesia, including Conservation International, Orangutan Foundation, and World Wide Fund for Nature Indonesia.
Indonesia is home to the second‑largest rainforest in the world—second only to Brazil—with 350 million acres. These diverse forests contain an estimated 4,000 species of trees, 30,000 flowering plant species, 500 species of mammals, more than 1,500 species of birds, and 5,000 varieties of orchids.
In the middle of the 19th Century, British zoologist Alfred Russel Wallace observed that the fauna east of Bali and Borneo were closely associated with Australia, while those to the west of Lombok and Sulawesi were associated more with the Indo-Malayan region of Southeast Asia. This invisible border has since been named the Wallace Line. For example, the largest mammals in Indonesia, such as the tigers, elephants, rhinos, and orangutans are only found on a few the western-most islands, most notably on Sumatra.
“This is a fascinating country that offers something for all travelers,” Chandler said. “You don’t have to be an adventure traveler to appreciate the beauty of Indonesia.”
For more information about the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia, or to order your copy, click here.