An impressive Sooka Babirusa skull in bronze. The tusks have been carefully welded on by hand.
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The babirusa, which translates to “deer-pig” in Indonesian is part of the Swine family that is endemic to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. This remarkable species is known for its prehistoric appearance due to its prominent tusks. Sometimes they grow so far inwards that they pierce the skin!
All species of babirusa are currently listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List and thus killing them is illegal in most cases. Unfortunately, poaching for their bushmeat as well as the skull remains the biggest threat to the babirusa. And it doesn’t help that the commercial logging of their habitat reduces cover, making the babirusa more exposed to poachers. Low conservation awareness, widespread poverty (creating an incentive to kill for money) and poor law enforcement add insult to injury.
The babirusa seeks shelter in the Nantu Forest Reserve, one of Sulawesi’s few remaining rainforests. The reserve is surrounded by more than a thousand small farmers, and with local income levels being as low as $70 a month, these villagers as well as outsiders turn to destructive forest practises such as rafting illegal timber, illegal gold-mining, slash-and-burn forest clearance, and wildlife poaching for income. It’s safe to say that poverty is directly contributing to climate change. Helping communities like these lift out of poverty and create alternative, environmentally sustainable practices such as cacao-farming and promoting ecotourism could promise future horizons.
YANI (nantuforest.org) is an example of an NGO that does just this. By cooperating closely with the communities that live around Nantu Forest, they have initiated several agricultural projects (such as cacao farming) that are successfully generating income. Strengthening the economic position of these communities means creating sustainable alternatives for harvesting from the forest that sustains instead of destruct (wild)life. YANI is also actively seeking to make the Nantu Forest more accessible to ecotourism as a means to generate alternative modes of income for local communities. Much like the Gunung Leuser National Park in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra is trying to do this as well.
About the collection
This sculpture is part of our Eternity of Remarkable Species collection where we capture the astonishing beauty of endangered animals in a static state. For this collection, we source species such as the Babirusa that are endangered or threatened by human impact. We want to put these species in a shining spotlight to raise awareness of their vulnerability, and beauty, at the same time. With this collection that we call the ‘Eternity of Remarkable Species’, we capture timeless species that are facing extinction in the form of bronze sculptures. The astonishing fleeting beauty of these endangered animals is solidified into a static, eternal state of bronze, welded at over 2000 degrees Celsius. Just as enchanting, less of an impact.
Height: 20 cm / 8 inches
Width: 17 cm / 7 inches
Length: 29 cm / 11.5 inches
Weight: 2700 gr / 6 pounds
Designer: Jake Richmond / Dutch Design
Concept: Eva van Stekelenburg
Materials: Recycled Bronze, MDF
The skull is displayed on a custom-fit black base, made from wood and steel. It can be detached from the base if desired.
All of our bronze sculptures, including this polished bronze Babirusa skull in bronze, are made from upcycled metals such as old pipelines. Our craftsmen and women collect this scrap waste which they then put in an oven at very high temperatures. Once the scrap waste pieces melt, the new raw material is ready to be used. We then use this virgin material to make our bronze sculptures. As bronze is a very eco and labour-intensive material to mine, we feel it makes much more sense to reuse the material that has already been created than to extract it – again. By doing so we are trying to close at least one waste loop.
Transparency & Who made it
In conclusion, when it comes to our working conditions, we work exclusively with Indonesian craftsmen and women in both Bali and Java. This piece specifically was made in Java, Indonesia. All of our craftsmen and women get paid a living wage that exceeds what Indonesian Law requires. Their income is enough for a comfortable home, food, education, ceremonies, and more.