Protecting the Sumatran tiger in Bengkulu

Project name:  Building a Consensus to Protect  the Sumatran tiger in the 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 through building strong practical collaborations between local and national government, religious leaders, educators and forest-edge communities.

Objective 1:  Disseminate information through workshops to 40 religious leaders about the national religious prohibition or Fatwa No. 04 tahun 2014 which forbids Muslims to hunt rare and endangered wildlife such as Sumatran tiger issued by the Indonesia council of Muslim scholars the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI).

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

Objective 3: Work with the education and cultural department of Lebong district government to prepare education policy tools and planning for a Conservation education curriculum under the ‘local content’ component of the Lebong district junior high schools syllabus and so build conservation awareness and knowledge.

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 Kerinci Seblat 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 builds on collaborations between local and national government agencies and respected local community leaders to strengthen tiger conservation in a district which is bordered by Kerinci Seblat National Park forests on three sides and in partnership with local religious leaders,  widely socialise the national Fatwa or religious instruction, No 4. 2014.  issued by the Indonesia Council of Muslim Scholars or Majelis Ulama Indonesia which forbids the hunting and trade of rare and endangered wildlife.

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.

During 2018 this project will work with the education and cultural department of Lebong district government to prepare education policy tools and plan for a Conservation education curriculum under the ‘local content’ component of the Lebong district junior high schools syllabus and so build conservation awareness and knowledge amongst the local high school children when it is launched in schools in 2019.

Additionally, the project will support the collaborative ‘Unit Reaksi Cepat’ or Rapid Response Unit, now in its second year,  to respond to suspected threat to tigers using information from  forest-edge communities who will be encouraged by the Lingkar and MUI team to quickly report suspected poaching and possible human-tiger conflicts. Tiger protection in this district will be further strengthened by wildlife crime investigations by the Lingkar team which will support wildlife crime law enforcement by local police agencies and the FFI/KSNP tiger protection team.