Indonesia-Lembata-Lamalera-689

Lamafa - The world's last traditional whale hunters

The clans inhabiting the tiny village of Lamalera, on the sunbaked Lembata island (Nusa Tenggara Timur Province) have been spearing and landing sperm whales by hand for at least six centuries. Their artisan subsistence whaling has overcome heavy missionary influence, the Japanese occupation of Lembata during World War II and a well-established Catholic education system. And because the Lamalerans have been doing this since the dawn of time, they carry on, even with a permission from the Indonesian government – as long as they hunt for their own consumption and not for commercial sale. Although many Lamalerans have been well educated over the past decades, most families pursue subsistence lifestyles, with only minor exchange of currency. Conservationists (like WWF) are incessantly prodding Indonesian governmentals, demanding stricter regulations for hunting practices within the Savu seascape and the Ombai Strait; a migratory bottleneck of regional importance. So far, the environmental activists have limited impact, due to sluggish governmental actions and nonetheless the withstanding Lamaleran clans.