Indonesia: The Last Whale Hunters

170 images Created 12 Oct 2010

The Indonesian village of Lamalera has hunted whales, sharks and dolphins for the last 500 years. Their method is to leap from a small wooden boat with a long harpoon made of bamboo and spear the animal. Once brought to shore the animal is divided in to parts and distributed to the community, partly for consumption and partly for exchanging with other inland communities for corn and rice.
On the 21 May 2009 at the World Oceans Conference, the Indonesian government officially declared 3.5 million hectares of critical marine habitat in the Savu Sea for conservation. Though government representatives have assured that traditional whaling -- which has been supporting the surrounding communities' means of living -- will not be banned in the area immediately outside the zone, concerns still remain. Lamalera is one of the last remaining Indonesian whaling communities and is categorized by the International Whaling Commission as aboriginal whaling.
Various activists have also gone to the village to try and introduce whale watching for tourists instead of hunting.
This story is about this unique village and their ancient tradition that is so much part of their life that an end to whaling would mean an end to their community.
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