In a country where there is no ‘parole’ system, post-release supervision or ‘care in the community’ scheme for ex-offenders, the ‘guardianship’ program launched in Sumatra during 2020 provides vital support to poachers upon release from prison.
The ‘guardianship’ program, launched by Lingkar Insiatif in 2020, with the support of the Wildcats Conservation Alliance and the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund, provides counselling to ex-offenders to encourage behaviour change.
This programme is now in its second year and starting to show positive results with nine known prolific poachers in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park declaring their commitment to no longer hunting endangered animals. This is a huge achievement when, on average, one hunter could kill between 3-5 Sumatran tigers in the forest every month.
This commitment was made possible by providing counselling through a methodological approach using norms and religion. This was strengthened by the dissemination of the fatwa* of the Indonesian Ulema Council which prohibits the hunting of endangered animals.
“We are happy that now they are not hunting anymore. In fact, three of these hunters are now part of our patrol team (Lingkar Inisiatif) to help strengthen and expand information networks about alleged threats to tigers in the national park. It's not easy. Because it must be followed by a change in the livelihood of the hunters. However, a commitment to stop hunting is the best first step to suppress the death of tigers due to crime.”IswadiDirector of Lingkar Indonesian Initiative
*Fatwa = formal ruling or interpretation on a point of Islamic law given by a qualified legal scholar