Project name:   Protecting the Sumatran tiger in Bengkulu area of Kerinci Seblat National Park

Location:  Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra 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 key villages in Lebong and North Bengkulu District.

Objective 2: Maintain action to protect and conserve wild Sumatran tigers in the far south of Kerinci Seblat National Park area through rapid response unit SMART forest patrols, managing community information networks, investigation and wildlife crime law enforcement.

Objective 3: Strengthen the protection of the Sumatran tiger and other endangered species in the project area by expanding a guardianship program for active hunters together with the government, preacher, and ex-hunters.

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, the Sumatran tiger in Bengkulu continues to be threatened by poaching. Because of the size of the national park, many areas still do not receive a routine patrol focus by the understaffed national park’s rangers.

Since 2013, this problem is being addressed by Lingkar Inisiatif Indonesia in a strategically important Bengkulu province, in the south-west of the national park.

The project team works closely with 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 trading in endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger.

The Bengkulu provincial and Lebong district chapters of the Indonesian Council of Muslim Scholars (MUI) take an important role in this project and works with Lingkar Inisiatif 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.

Lingkar Inisiatif and the  Indonesian Islamic Scholars Council (MUI) have developed a guardianship programme to provide intensive assistance to hunters and recidivists of forest crimes through a religious values approach. Raise awareness of the prohibition of hunting according to religious faith has according to Lingkar Inisiatif, been accepted by forest edge communities more widely than conventional approaches to state law.  So far there have been 20 ex-hunters who have participated in this program since 2021 who have pledged openly to stop hunting activities and are currently actively assisting in securing forest areas in their area from illegal activities.

Through an MOU with the Kerinci Seblat National Park authority, Lingkar Inisiatif organises multi-stakeholder forest patrols using the SMART monitoring protocols. This enables the systematic collection of patrol data and through analysis can help to drive effective forest protection and threat reduction.

This project also receives a grant from from Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund in association with WildCats.

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