Over the next few weeks we are 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. Here is Endi in his own words.
Endi Mistanto –(See below, right, standing, supervising a search of suspected poachers’ bags) joined the team in 2013 leading a new TPCU formed to strengthen tiger conservation in the west of the national park in Bengkulu which has the most important tiger populations in Kerinci Seblat
“I’m a national park ranger and a TPCU leader but I’m also North Bengkulu, born and bred and I now live in Talang Arah village from where you can get to some of the best forests with the most tigers in Kerinci Seblat.
So far, down here, we’ve not seen too much impact on the economy although I think the town market is a bit quieter than usual. I think maybe this is because we are not – or not yet – a Red Zone for this virus.
I am afraid I do not think the Corona plague will stop poaching of tigers and certainly not deer. I don’t think it will even result in reduced poaching and now we are moving into Ramadan.
The forest is not where Corona virus spreads, you could say we are safer in the forest. The most dangerous places are where there is a very dense population, and so long as there are buyers, poachers will go to the forest to hunt tigers and deer. There are people who depend on the forest for their living or at least to meet some extra costs – that is why deer poaching is such a problem in Ramadan. So yes, for as long as there are buyers, there will be poachers and Corona virus won’t stop that.”