Pulo Tareba ecotourism focuses on nature conservation and preventing the hunting of endemic fauna.
The city of Ternate, North Maluku, has unique fauna that is starting to become rare, namely the blue-eyed cuscus (Phalanger sp. ternate).
By the Ternate people, this omnivorous animal that eats insects, leaves, and fruit is also called “kuso.” Unfortunately, these mammalian animals are among those threatened with extinction due to illegal hunting by residents for consumption and the conversion of forest land.
Even though it is a rare animal, the cuscus can be found around the Pulo Tareba ecotourism forest. Located right on the west side of Lake Tolire, Takome Village, Ternate City District, it could be the best spot for tourists or travelers to enjoy the blue-eyed cuscus.
Last week, alumni of SMA Negeri 2 Ternate City class ’98 visited the ecotourism area. They took photos together while campaigning to protect nature by unfurling banners bearing Law Number 5 of 1990 and Law Number 18 of 2013, which state, “Everyone is Prohibited from Cutting Down Trees, Burning Forests, Occupying and Encroaching on Forests, Hunting Wild Animals, and Other Activities That Destroy Forests within the Takome Forest Area.”
They also took photos of the beautiful views of the ecotourism at the foot of Mount Gamalama with their smartphones.
The group coordinator, Nurjanah Kolter, said that their visit was for tourism as well as a conservation campaign. “This is actually a form of our reunion, but as usual, when we have a reunion, we don’t just want to have fun; we have to make something that is useful for the environment or the people around us,” said Nurjanah.
Nurjanah believes that the Tareba Forest area needs government attention to be developed into a natural tourist attraction because the forest is home to endemic animals.
“According to the information we received, here we can monitor blue-eyed cuscus and owls at night, so this is potential that must be developed, and the government must support it,” he stressed.
Even though they had been going around taking selfies with natural backgrounds in the Pulo Tareba area, Nurjanah and her friends had solidified their plans to camp or spend the night in Tareba. The reason is, they want to directly monitor the blue-eyed cuscus and owls.
“The plan is that after this, we will go camping so we can see these two animals directly because how are we going to promote them if we haven’t proven it ourselves,” said Nurjanah.
New Tourist Destination in Ternate
The Pulo Tareba area is an alternative tourist spot in Takome Village, West Ternate, Ternate City, besides lake and beach tourism. Located on the ridge of Mount Gamalama and right on the side of Lake Tolire, Pulo Tareba is very suitable for natural tourism.
The manager of Pulo Tareba, Junaidi Abas, said that Pulo Tareba is a new tourist attraction in Ternate City. Since it first opened in 2019, they have no plans to develop it as a tourist attraction.
“Previously, we only thought that tourism was beaches and lakes, but thanks to several offers, we decided to manage the forest’s potential as a natural tourist attraction,” he recalled.
Junaidi said that at the beginning of development together with other Tareba Community friends, they were confused about starting a forest-based tour. As a result, tourist spots such as outbound areas, gazebos, and selfie spots seem to torment the local flora and fauna.
“Initially, we built it in a tree-cutting style, using labrangs as ropes for outbound rides which were tied to trees, so over time it turned out to be torturing the trees,” he added.
This erroneous design meant that the rides with tree supports started to break down. This is made worse by the disappearance of fauna that previously inhabited the area, such as blue-eyed cuscus, owls, civets, and other migratory birds.
This condition prompted Junaidi and the youth of Takome Village who are members of the Pulo Tareba community to temporarily close tourist activities. Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, it also aims to return flora and fauna to normal.
“Since it was built and opened in September 2023 until now, the animals have started to arrive again,” said Junaidi.
Learning from previous experience, Junaidi emphasized that Pulo Tareba ecotourism focuses on nature conservation. They continue to make these efforts, one of which is collaborating with environmental communities.
“We are collaborating to prevent illegal hunting, including by collaborating with Halmahera Wildlife Photography, with bird watchers on Pulo Tareba,” he said.
This is also a campaign to strictly prohibit illegal hunting of birds in the Pulo Tareba area. Because since it reopened, community friends who guard Pulo Tareba often find perpetrators of illegal poaching.
“We met them several times, especially outsiders with rifles hunting birds, and some of the authorities even shot birds here,” he said.
Saddened by the existing conditions, Junaidi and his community hope for public awareness, so that they no longer hunt birds for trade or as pets at home. On the other hand, you can enjoy the natural beauty and fauna without harming them by traveling to Pulo Tareba. You can do tourist activities on Pulo Tareba, such as taking selfies with Lake Tolire Besar as the background, camping, and bird watching.
“We have a selfie spot with an entrance fee per person of IDR. 5 thousand and camping with a rental fee of a tent for 4 people Rp. 50 thousand, while birdwatching can be done during the day or night,” he concluded.
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