Babar Island Nature Reserve

Babar Island Nature Reserve

Longitude (DD) 129.72044569
Latitude (DD) -7.91224062
Designation Other Area

dai , moluccas, tribe, suku

Status Proposed
Current Status Not Known
IUCN Category Not Known
GIS Total Area (ha) 62.388

The Babar Islands (Pulau-pulau Babar) are located in Maluku Province, Indonesia between latitudes 7 degrees 31 minutes South to 8 degrees 13 minutes South and from longitudes 129 degrees 30 minutes East to 130 degrees 05 minutes East. Kepulauan Babar refers to the entire archipelago. Tepa is the main town of the Babar Islands.

The islands take their name from the large central island of Babar which is roughly 20 miles across and 60 miles around. Babar island has a maximum elevation of approximately 750 meters and is lightly covered with sub-tropical montaine forest.

The West Monsoon lasts from December to April so corn, plantains, bananas, cassava and red rice (unirrigated) grow plentifully. Sufficient potable water on Babar Island is provided by year round springs.

This situation contrasts markedly with the much smaller islands ringing Babar Island. These are low-lying, uplifted reef and limestone (with the exception of Dai Island), infertile, not heavily forested and lacking in fresh water sources. Life is more difficult on the outlying Babar islands where the indigenous inhabitants focus more of their energies on fishing and hand-crafts which are then traded for garden produce from Babar Island.

In comparison to the majority of Indonesians living nearer the political centre of the country, the indigenous Babar Islanders tend to darker epidermal pigmentation, have kinky hair and generally lack the epicanthic eyefold of East Asians.

Besides being a visible minority, most indigenous Babar Islanders are also baptised into the Protestant Church of Maluku (Gereja Protestan Maluku- GPM). Due undoubtedly to the aridity of the islands and the lack of natural resources, there has been no trans-migration from more populous Indonesian areas. In Tepa, there are a Catholic church, a Seventh-day Adventist church, and a Pentecostal church, the Gereja Betany Indonesia (GBI)(Bethany Church of Indonesia), as well as a mosque that serves the small community of Muslims. The village of Kroing on the Eastern side of Babar island also has a GBI. All the other towns have only one GPM church. While these world faiths are represented, there is much hybridization with the pre-existing animist beliefs and practices.

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