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Mandala Wisata
Wenara Wana

A similar process of conservation awareness and activism is occurring in Thailand. At the core of this movement are the so-called Buddhist ecology monks, who see the cause of their country's deforestation and pollution as a moral issue (Darlington, 1998). By publicly engaging in tree ordinations, the ecology monks are combating greed and ignorance by reminding people to treat nature on equal terms with humanity. The monks perform skits on how to preserve the forest and they sanctify seedlings prior to planting. They then wrap monks' robes around all the large trees that are threatened. After the ceremony, they put up signs on the ordained trees that read "To destroy the forest is to destroy life" (Darlington, 1998). The cutting of any trees or killing any wildlife is forbidden. The village headmen also drink holy water and pledge to protect the forest. A violation of this pledge might affect their life for all eternity, including their rebirth.

In Bali, by 1990, the change from a small village atmosphere of 1986 to a major tourist attraction at Ubud and Padangtegal was obvious. One section of Padangtegal had grown in population so much that it had to be divided. Hanuman Street from the city of Ubud to the Monkey Forest was now paved. Local villagers now talked about the huge influx of tourists, attracting all kinds of people. Padangtegal was 'more green' than other villages. The rice fields were more prosperous. The people of Ubud also mentioned more problems now that accompany tourism. They worried that the more Western lifestyle of tourists might influence their own children. They mentioned theft and pollution for the first time as potential problems.

In 1990, the Wenara Wana Padangtegal Managerial Committee was established by members of the desa adat in the outer courtyard of the Pura Desa (villlage temple) in Padangtegal. The purpose of this committee is to manage and conserve the tourist destination of Wenara Wana. The Sanskrit wenara means 'forest animal or monkey' and wana means forest (Zoetmulder, 1982). The previous name for the Monkey Forest was, in Balinese, Alas Pemaosan. The name change from Balinese to Sanskrit is a significant one. Sanskrit is perceived as more than just evoking a more traditional image of the past. It is a sacred language and a vehicle of potent information to stand the test of time and modernization. The name change reflects an elevation in status for the Monkey Forest, and it reinforces the sanctity of the forest. Asked why the name was changed and whether the monkeys were sacred, an elderly man told me the following story. Upset that monkeys were always harvesting the forest's coconuts

Although the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal is only approximately a tenth of a square kilometer (approximately 27 acres) in size, it is rich in terms of biodiversity. The Sacred Monkey Forest contains upwards of 80 species of trees.

Bird lovers are advised to spend time sitting at various locations both within and along the edge of the Sacred Monkey Forest. A few of the birds that you might be able to observe include Cinnamon Bitterns, Scaly-Breasted Munias, Spotted Doves, Yellow-Vented Bulbuls, Javan Munias, Common Ioras, Little Spiderhunters, Javan Kingfishers, Oriental Magpie Robins, and Glossy Swiftlets.

In addition, the famous Petulu Egrets can sometimes be spotted in local rice fields. Petulu Egrets are named after the village of Petulu (the village of Petulu is located just north of Ubud and each night approximately 6000 Egrets roost there). Many local book stores within Padangtegal and Ubud carry books that can assist tourists in identifying Bali's bird species. Reptile lovers can typically observe several species of skinks and can occasionally see monitor lizards. Insects are everywhere throughout the Sacred Monkey Forest and tourists are especially advised to take some time to try and observe the Forest's many butterfly species. Finally, the Sacred Monkey Forest has several species of mammals.

Sacred Monkey Forest is an important ecological reserve and it is important that you treat it's plants and animals with respect. Please walk only on paved path areas and never pick any plants. In addition, for your safety and theirs, never handle any of the animals.

The Sacred
Monkey Forest
of Padangtegal is
owned by the village
of Padangtegal.

The Padangtegal
Wenara Wana
Foundation has
historically strived
to develop and
implement management objectives that will both maintain the sacred
integrity of the monkey forest and promote
the monkey forest as
a sacred site that is
open to visitors from
around the world.

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