Protecting the Sumatran tiger in Bengkulu

Project name:  Building a Consensus to Protect  the Sumatran tiger in Bengkulu area of Kerinci Seblat National Park

Location:  Kerinci Seblat National Park, SumaSumatran tiger Bengkulutra Indonesia

Goal: To reduce the poaching threat to Sumatran tiger in the National Park and adjacent forests by building strong practical collaborations between local and national government, religious leaders, educators and forest-edge communities.

Objective 1:  Strengthen awareness of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MIU) Fatwa No. 04 2014 on hunting and trade in tiger and other endangered species in eight key villages in Lebong and North Bengkulu District and more widely in two park-edge districts.

Objective 2: Strengthen the protection and conservation of Sumatran tiger in the south of Kerinci Seblat National Park through Rapid Response Unit SMART forest patrols, managing community information networks, investigations and support for wildlife crime law enforcement or other action against offenders.

Objective 3: Work with the education and cultural department of Lebong district government to support activation of a Conservation education syllabus with appropriate teaching materials (RPP) at 10 of the 24 Junior High Schools in Lebong district from July 2019. Evaluate early results in Q3 through school visits and give input to district government education department planning for conservation education and materials in 2020-2021 School Year.

Objective 4: Strengthen conservation of Sumatran tiger and other protected wildlife through the establishment of a team to mitigate human-wildlife conflict in Lebong district with the support of Lebong district regent.

Background:  Kerinci Seblat National Park (TNKS) covers an area of 1.386 hectares in the provinces of West Sumatra, Jambi, South Sumatra and Bengkulu and is recognised as a globally important site for the conservation of Sumatran tigers.

Unfortunately, although a protected species under Indonesian law for more than 40 years, Sumatran tiger in Bengkulu continue to be threatened by poaching which has escalated dramatically in recent years due to demand from illegal wildlife traders. Because of the size of the national park, many areas do not receive a routine patrol focus and information networks to support intelligence-driven patrols are lacking while the national park’s ranger division is very understaffed. Consequently,  tigers in some areas of the national park are very vulnerable to poaching.

This problem is being addressed by the Lingkar Institute under this project in a  strategically important district in the south-west of the national park in Bengkulu province where three tigers are known to have died in snares in 2015.

The project team will work closely with partners of the Lebong and North Bengkulu district of the Indonesia Council of Islamic Scholars (MUI) to strengthen awareness of the Fatwa MUI No. 4/2014 which prohibits Muslims in Indonesia from hunting or trade in endangered species such as Sumatran tiger, with a strong focus to ten villages now identified as sources of poaching threat in national park forests in Lebong and North Bengkulu districts.

The Bengkulu provincial and Lebong district chapters of the Indonesian Council of Muslim Scholars (MUI) will take a leading role in this project and work with Lingkar and other partners to build community support for tiger conservation using  Islamic perspectives in an area where the local community is overwhelmingly of the Muslim faith.

The project will also collaborate with local education department officials and teachers in Lebong district to test the conservation education syllabus and teaching materials (RPP) in three junior high schools in Lebong district.

The team will cooperate with the district government to reduce the incidence of human-Wildlife conflict by forming a team of task forces handling human and Wildlife conflict in Lebong district.

Using this method, the project will strengthen broad-based support for the conservation of Sumatran tigers and habitat through building tiger conservation awareness by religious leaders and teachers, strengthening and extending collaborative patrols to reduce poaching threat  while social policing by the community will be a serious concern for poachers and illegal wildlife traders and reducing the incidence of conflicts between humans and wildlife.