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Escape to coral island for Dean; INDONESIA-BOUND STUDENT SETS OUT HIS FUND-RAISING STALL.

A geography student from Coventry faces a long financial haul to take part in a conversation project on a remote Indonesian island.

Dean Jones, aged 19, of Allesley Old Road, Chapelfields, needs to raise Pounds 2,500 to take part in Operation Wallacea, a detailed survey of a remote rainforest in Buton, a small island near Sulawesi, Indonesia, between July 4 and August 1.

He is looking for sponsors and also selling draw tickets in the city's Market Way today and tomorrow in an effort to reach his goal.

Prizes include a signed Coventry City football and a Coventry Crusaders' sweatshirt.

Dean, a geography student at Sheffield University, said: ``Buton is a special island and there are lots of plants and animals which are unique.''

He said the conservation project would involve counting flora and fauna and assess the extent of damage caused to the rainforest by logging.

The rainforest is home to the rare maleo bird, which is almost extinct, as well as the sulphur-crested cockatoo, whose population has been decimated by the pet trade.

The forest is also home to the anoa, a rare and secretive dwarf buffalo, and the Buton macaque, a tail-less monkey.

Dean will also spend time doing community projects with the Bajau, also known as sea gypsies.

These previously nomadic people now live in stilted houses over coral reefs and rely on fishing for their livelihood.

Dean said: ``We are trying to encourage them to use sustainable fishing methods. At the moment, they use cyanide to kill fish, which then float to the surface and can be easily collected. But this also poisons the coral reef.''

Dean hopes the project will give him an insight into conservation work, which he hopes to pursue as a career after leaving university.
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Author:Summers, Kathryn
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 26, 1999
Words:295
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