2017 Yan Oi Tong Maritime Silk Road Exploration Tour to Tasikoki

Tasikoi adventure

Forest foraging, Bug hunting, Tree planting, Seed bombing, Enrichment making, and Beach cleaning – the students from the 2017 Yan Oi Tong Maritime Silk Road Exploration programme did it all (plus more), at their recent visit to Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre!

The Tasikoki adventure started with an interesting information session where the students learnt about the importance of Sulawesi as one of the planet’s biodiversity hotspots and the many endemic species it supports. They were also introduced to the challenges and impact of the illegal wildlife trade and the important role that the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre plays in combatting this problem.

Planting seedlings for the Tasikoki forest
Planting seedlings for the Tasikoki forest

A visit to Tangkoko

A visit to Tangkoko Nature Reserve was rewarded with sightings of wild Tarsier, Bear Cuscus, Macaques and beautiful birds including Hornbill. Back at Tasikoki, the students especially enjoyed creating enrichment from the fruit and plants they had collected from the forest and the generous donations they had brought from Hong Kong. A highlight of the programme was the time spent enriching the enclosure for the two Sun Bears – Bin Bin and Bon Bon who took delight in exploring all of the new greenery and vegetation that the students had placed and hidden around their enclosure.

Bird watching at Tangkoko Nature Reserve
Bird watching at Tangkoko Nature Reserve

The Education Centre was filled with chatter and laughter when the students from the local Bitung School joined the Hong Kong students in a brain-storming session to consider ways to reduce their daily waste, such as plastic. The students excitedly shared their ideas and afterwards, cleaned the local beach together and played beach games.

A visit to Tulap

The importance of marine Biodiversity and the threats facing it were further explored during a visit to Tulap Sea Turtle Beach, which is a nesting site managed by the Masarang Foundation, for all five species of turtles in the region. The students also enjoyed a visit to Bunacken National Park to observe first hand the incredible marine biodiversity of the Coral Triangle, by glass-bottom boat.

The students had an inspirational afternoon with Dr Willie Smits who gave a guided tour through a reforestation project at Tomohon, which includes both plants for flora and fauna as well as food plants for the local community, including Sugar Palm. The students also met with local sugar palm tappers to learn how Sugar Palm is helping both the environment and local communities, and later visited the eco-sustainable Sugar Palm Factory.

An informative visit to the Sugar Palm Factory
An informative visit to the Sugar Palm Factory

Cloud and wind created atmospheric conditions for an amazing walk up and around the crater rim of a local volcano. This was followed by more cultural exchange when the local children put on a “fierce” and highly entertaining warrior dance, which the YOT students even got involved in! The YOT visit was definitely action-packed!

Masarang HK and the management, staff and volunteers at Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre would like to send a big ‘Thank You’ to the YOT 2017 Maritime Silk Road programme students and staff for their amazing contribution during their stay and wonderful donations. The Sun Bears, Orangutan, Gibbons, and many birds at Tasikoki are very grateful for your support!

Wim van de Meerendonk