Mahakam River

Collaborators:  Dr. Danielle Kreb & Budiono, Yayasan Konservasi RASI (Rare Aquatic Species of Indonesia).

The Mahakam River, in Kalimantan Timur (SE Borneo, in Indonesia), hosts a Critically Endangered subpopulation of Irrawaddy dolphins.  Dr. Danielle Kreb has studied these dolphins since 1999, and she and Budiono of NGO Y.K. RASI have worked with local communities to work for their conservation.  Bycatch in fishing gear is a documented threat; the river is also impacted by heavy shipping traffic (including shipping for coal, lumber, palm oil fertilizer), sedimentation, deforested banks, and pollution.

Y.K. RASI’s work has resulted in two protected areas declared for the pesut (local name for the Irrawaddies) – the Western Kutai and Central Kutai conservation zones.  My research will focus on the Central Kutai area, including the city of Kota Bangun.


I visited this site briefly in 2010 and 2011 to meet with Danielle and Budi; my fieldwork here will be conducted August-September 2012.