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Natural Cave Where Breadwinners Bet Their Lives

Betting Lives on the Cliffs of Goa 

Samad hangs on the wall of the karst cave,naturally formed, his feet only rest on a stretch of two bamboo blades, bamboo blades tied with rattan ropes connect one ladder to another which are also made of bamboo. His position at that time was about 15 meters from the floor of the cave, sometimes he had to move to another path of higher bamboo blades. Follow the height of the walls and contour of the cave ceiling. 
He has been doing this activity since after breakfast this morning, later in the afternoon he will finish his activities for lunch. After resting as needed Samad will return to continue his work until the sun goes down. 

That is the work of Samad and his group as a picker for the wallet bird of the karst cave dwellers in the past two days. The work will take between 4 and 6 days to complete, depending on the number of nests and the difficulty of picking them. 

Samad with his group of 5-7 people, there are many groups of pickers in other caves. The work of Samat and his group begins with selecting and collecting bamboo blades, then the bamboo will be carried to the cave location, the distance varies from 3 to a dozen kilometers. After that, continue by making stairs to reach the mouth of the cave and bring bamboo into the cave. 

In the cave the new ladder is starting to be assembled or use the previously raised ladder if it is considered still strong. Then the bamboo ladder is reinforced with other bamboo slats and tied with rattan rope, after which it is followed by picking the nest. 
Picking the nest using scrap made of iron plate and some other equipment. The iron plate is used to lift the nest from the surface of the cave wall. 

Some people went up the stairs as pickers and other members stood guard at the bottom of the cave. If harvesting has not been completed, it will continue the next day, usually the group will spend the night around the cave location by setting up tents for shelter.

A wallet bird that naturally inhabits karst caves on the Mangkaliat peninsula, Sangkulirang, East Kalimantan. The Kasrt Mountains in the region stretch from Berau, North Kalimantan to Cape Mangkaliat, East Kalimantan. On the cliffs of the karst mountains, there are many natural caves of various sizes, in the cave the wallet birds make nests to lay their eggs.
The culture of using the swallow's nest took place centuries ago, generally swallow's nest is consumed because it is believed to increase one's stamina

Harvesting is usually done every three months, taking into account the time from the bird laying eggs until the chicks leave the nest. The wallet bird attaches a nest made of saliva to the walls to the ceiling of the cave. In building a swallow nest it takes 30-40 days, starting from the beginning until the wallet nest is ready to lay eggs. 
Image Source: Google

The length of time it takes to build a nest depends on the temperature and humidity in the cave. If the temperature is too high, the bird's saliva dries up quickly, so the wallet will have difficulty forming a nest, but if the temperature and humidity are too low, the wallet's saliva will not stick to the foundation. Nesting is done together with the male and female wallets, but only the female wallet produces saliva as a nest-building material. 
Wallet nests are almost bowl-shaped, with a diameter of 5-7 cm, and weigh between 5 -20 grams of nests. 

In picking wallet nests there are three harvesting models, 
1. Harvest loot, the picker will take the nest that has just been made by the wallet parent, this harvest produces a clean and clear nest 
2. Harvest throw away eggs, that is, the nest is taken even though there are still unhatched eggs inside 
3. Harvest hatchlings, the nests are harvested after the chicks can fly from the nest 

This wallet bird's nest is mostly to meet the demands of the Singapore and China markets. Currently, the price of super-grade swallow nests is around US $ 1,252 - 1,531 per kilogram.

There are several types of wallet nest cave ownership, 
1. Cave wallet which is owned and managed by the local government, obtained by mastering it under the provisions of local government regulations. 
2. The wallet cave, which is owned and managed by indigenous peoples near the cave location, is usually owned by indigenous people for generations 
3. Cave wallet owned by a private entrepreneur obtained by winning the auction.

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