Celebrating the dedication of the FFI/Kerinci Seblat Tiger Protection & Conservation Unit (TPCU) team, and sharing members of the TPCU reflections on COVID 19 around Kerinci Seblat and its impacts ….. in their own words
Herizal known on the team as ‘Little Heri’ (to distinguish him from a second, older Heri on the Jambi team) joined the TPCUs in 2013, he comes from a park-edge village in the south of the Kerinci enclave but now lives close to Lake Kerinci.
“Here, in Kerinci valley, I don’t think this Corona epidemic has had much impact on tiger or deer poaching or illegal forest clearance yet – well, not in Kerinci or Bungo anyway but we aren’t a ‘Red zone’ – not yet anyway – so maybe things will change.
But I think poachers are doing what they usually do, that this Corona virus won’t change anything much. I’m worried that poaching is going to increase, especially for deer and forest patrols need to be ready for that. If there are not patrols, I think the poachers and illegal encroachers will use it. We are working to mitigate a human-tiger conflict near to Lempur in Kerinci now and that problem is because people are clearing forests (DM – outside the national park) which have tigers and farmers are unhappy because now they are seeing the tiger pugmarks and even seeing tigers and it is disturbing them. We try to explain that this is because people from another village are cutting down the forest but all the farmers know is that they are worried for their safety with two tigers in the area.”