Indonesian TV show under fire for showing protected giant clam being cooked

Wikimedia Commons/Bernard Dupont

Environmentalists reported an adventure reality show to the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) on Monday, following an edition on Sunday night in which a group of people were seen to cook creatures that appeared to be protected giant clams in Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan.

The program by TransTV, Para Petualang Cantik (The Beautiful Adventurers), was criticized by activists from Profauna Indonesia, Urban Wildlife Conservation Forum and Eco Diver Journalists.

The activists said on Monday that such clams, locally known as kima, were listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources as protected animals.

They are also protected under Government Regulation No. 7/1999 on flora and fauna preservation.

The growth of giant clams, from egg until they build their own shell, is slow and they have become very rare as they can only live in pristine waters, a release from the environmentalists said.

“From millions of eggs, produced by adult ‘kima’, only a few dozen can survive until they get their shells as they are easy prey,” Eco Diver Journalists said in their release.

Head of the Science Journalism Department of Padjadjaran University, Herlina Agustin, said it would report the kima incident to the Environment and Forestry Ministry as well.

The KPI told The Jakarta Post it had already received the report from the activists.

“We are investigating the show,” KPI content monitoring coordinator Hardly Stefano Pariela said on Monday.