We simply did not make the time. Particularly starting in 2013 when Icha decided to go total with marine mammal conservation, the five founders started to work on several marine mammal related projects using different organisations as the host institutions. We have now come to realise that a legal institution is sometimes required to make things work easier in Indonesia. Hence the establishment of the Cetacean Sirenian Indonesia. In reality, as individuals, we have been working on marine mammal conservation issues since the turn of the 21st CE.
The personal tracks of individual founders seem to revolve more around the whales and dolphins. Are you really working on the dugongs through Cetasi?
Not at the moment, simply due to the lack of expertise (Icha’s expertise is more on small cetacean management). At the moment, we are focusing our efforts on identifying conservation gaps on marine mammal management in the Archipelago to avoid reinventing the wheel. However, since the dugong is also of concern in Indonesia, we hope to work on this issue in the years to come, after discussing possible opportunities with fellow dugong researchers in Indonesia. We also assist the government in the handling of stranded dugongs.
As individuals, Adit, Yanti and Icha co-created WSI with other colleagues two years before the Cetasi was established. Cetasi personnel manage and maintain the website, but Whale Stranding Indonesia is much more than Cetasi. We now see WSI as a networking platform for stranding management in the country, in addition to an online database website.
What’s the connection between Marine Mammals Indonesia (MMI) and the Cetasi?
Similar to the WSI, MMI was created by Adit and Icha in 2004, a good decade before the creation of the Cetasi. MMI is a mailing list and is currently not active. However, the Cetasi founders still drop some news to the MMI mailing list whenever we have time. There has been some thoughts to revive Marine Mammals Indonesia into an online forum for marine mammal issues (not under Yahoo group, but under a separate domain), but this plan remains to be seen.