LIFE ON LAND
SETTING A COURSE FOR DISCOVERY
In September and October this year we took two groups of guests into the heart of the Indonesian jungle in search of two unique, rare and very big insects — Wallace’s Golden Birdwing Butterfly and Wallace’s Giant Bee — two species discovered by the great man Alfred Russel Wallace himself in the 19th Century, and hardly seen by outsiders in the years since.
WHY SULAWESI IS SO SPECIAL
Sulawesi is the world’s eleventh-largest island, with an area of 174,600 km2, and wedged in between the continental landmasses of Southeast Asia and Australia, it is the largest island in Wallacea. It is home to an incredible array of flora and fauna that are endemic to the island, and it is this diversity of species from different continents that puzzled Wallace and led to him to remark in his book ‘The Malay Archipelago’ that Sulawesi represented ‘a rather ancient land”, and that it must have had its origin “in a unique antiquity”.
HERE BE DRAGONS
In a time when the shape of the world and its boundaries were shrouded in mystery, ancient mariners and map-makers would scrawl the warning “Here be dragons”, along the borders of their parchment charts. The indication of giant lizards and sea serpents was intended to serve as a warning for fellow explorers, suggesting that what lay in the unexplored regions of the earth was as terrifying as it was enticing.
As diverse as the marine life is in Indonesia, the land is equally diverse and even more accessible if you are willing land on remote beaches and walk in the lush forests and in the savannas of volcanic islands.