On Global Tiger Day we are giving a huge shout-out to Auckland Zoo for its donation of NZ$20,450 (₤10,400) to extend the work of Lingkar Institute in Bengkulu.
This project funded by Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund, focuses in Bengkulu, which is bordered on three sides by Kerinci Seblat National Park. However, it is an area where the Tiger Protection and Conservation Units (TPCUs) do not have the capacity to conduct the focused range of actions required to address and reduce threat to tigers.
To strengthen tiger protection in this area, Lingkar mobilises religious leaders in Lebong district to socialise the Fatwa issued by the Indonesian Council of Islamic Scholars (Majelis Ulama Indonesia MUI) which prohibits Muslims to hunt rare and endangered wildlife such as Sumatran tiger. This ground-breaking religious ruling was issued nationally in 2014 but had never been communicated to mosque congregations at a local level in Sumatra. Very few of the predominantly Muslim community in Lebong district were aware that that the hunting of rare animals such as tigers is now not only illegal under Indonesian national law but also forbidden under Islam.
The project team also work in key forest-edge areas to strengthen and extend the existing information networks in the local community. This secures information on suspected active threat to tigers in national park forests for a swift targeted patrol response. The patrols comprise local national park rangers and officers of other government agencies, including Lebong district police.
Lingkar members, all of whom are very familiar with the area, also conduct wildlife crime investigations in the district and adjoining market towns and results are shared and jointly evaluated with forestry partners and Bengkulu TPCU for law enforcement where evidence is secured.
During the 2019-20 school year, Lingkar are working with educators to deliver training to three junior high schools in Lebong district and evaluation of early results and materials for conservation education classes in the following School Year (2020-21).
The project team also work with the MUI and other project partners by routine informal liaison and information sharing mechanisms so that collaborative locally relevant strategies to conserve and protect Sumatran tiger are developed and implemented in the longer term and tiger conservation is seen as the responsibility of all and not just forestry agencies and conservation NGOs.
Thank you to all the wonderful staff and visitors at Auckland Zoo for making this happen!