Deer Meatballs, Unique and Delicious Culinary from Merauke – Don’t be surprised if you eat meatballs in Merauke but the meat the seller uses is not beef, but venison. That’s because deer are abundant in Merauke. All deer meat cuisine, from meatballs to satay needs to be tried for travelers visiting Merauke. Venison is very popular in Merauke.

The itinerant meatball sellers also sell more deer meatballs with deer innards as a complement, compared to beef. Merauke is also known as the City of Deer.  The deer meat is also used as souvenirs, sold in the form of deer jerky, either sweet or salty jerky and shredded. The deer (Cervus timorensis) is an Indonesian tropical deer. In 1928, the Dutch government first brought deer to Merauke.

At that time deer were used as pets (exotic animals) in the yard of Dutch teachers and employees. In its later development, this deer developed rapidly. Then by the Dutch, these deer were released in the savanna around Merauke City. This deer was able to adapt well in the Merauke savanna environment.

Due to the high population of deer, the Dutch finally allowed deer to be hunted on a limited basis. Hunting is only allowed once a year, in December just before Christmas. Deer that can be hunted are deer that are old and unproductive.

In the end, starting from Merauke, the deer then spread widely throughout the Papua region, especially the savanna and forests where the trees were not too dense. The rapid development of deer is supported by the absence of large carnivores such as tigers as predators. The only carnivore in Papua is the quoll, and even then it is only as big as a rat.

In addition to Merauke, the Dutch colonial also sent deer to Papua New Guinea in 1900, to Australia from 1868 to 1912, and New Zealand in 1907. Currently, to fulfil the high demand for deer meat in Merauke, some of them are supplied by deer hunters from Papua.

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