Project name: Kerinci Seblat Tiger Protection & Conservation – Extending tiger protection to Lebong district, Bengkulu
Location: Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia
Goal: To secure and strengthen protection and conservation of Sumatran tiger in and adjoining a national park which protects Sumatra’s single most important tiger population in partnership with the Kerinci Seblat National Park
Objective 1: Strengthen awareness of the MUI prohibition (Fatwa No. 04/2014) on poaching and trade in tiger and other endangered species with the main focus to four or more key villages in Lebong and North Bengkulu districts.
Objective 2: Strengthen protection and conservation of Sumatran Tiger in the project area through SMART forest patrols by a collaborative Rapid Response Unit, managing forest-edge community information networks and investigations to support wildlife law enforcement.
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 3 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 departmentfor conservation education and teaching materials required more widely in the 2020-2021 School Year.
Objective 4: Strengthen tiger conservation protection of Sumatran tigers and other protected wildlife through the formation of a ‘task force’ to mitigate human-wildlife conflict in Lebong district.
This project funded by the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund aims to support the work being carried out by the Lingkar Institute in the Lebong district of Bengkulu. This is an area of particular concern, bordered on three sides by national park forests but where pressure on the TPCUs elsewhere means the program team does not have the capacity to conduct the focused range of actions required to address and reduce threat to tigers.
To strengthen tiger protection in this area, activities will be conducted with Lingkar to mobilising religious leaders in Lebong district to socialise the Fatwa issued by the Indonesian Council of Islamic Scholars (Majelis Ulama Indonesia) which prohibits Muslims to hunt rare and endangered wildlife such as Sumatran tiger.
This ground-breaking religious ruling was issued nationally in 2014 but has never been communicated to mosque congregations at a local level in Sumatra and so very few of the predominantly Muslim community in Lebong district are aware that that the hunting of rare animals such as tigers is now not only illegal under Indonesian national law but also forbidden under Islam.
The project team will also work in key forest-edge areas to strengthen and extend existing TPCU forest edge community information networks to secure information on suspected active threat to tigers in national park forests in the area for a swift targeted patrol response.
These patrols may be conducted by TPCUs or by a Rapid Response patrol unit or Unit Reaksi Cepat formation of which will be facilitated by the programme and will compose local national park rangers and officers of other government agencies, including Lebong district police.
Lingkar members, all of whom are very familiar with the area, conduct wildlife crime investigations in the district and adjoining market towns and results are shared and jointly evaluated with forestry partners and Bengkulu TPCU for law enforcement where evidence is secured.
During the 2019-20 school year, Lingkar will be working with educators to deliver training to three junior high schools in Lebong district and evaluation of early results and materials for conservation education classes in the following School Year (2020-21).
The project team will also work with the MUI and other project partners by routine informal liaison and information sharing mechanisms so that collaborative locally relevant strategies to conserve and protect Sumatran tiger are developed and implemented in the longer term and tiger conservation is seen as the responsibility of all and not just forestry agencies and conservation NGOs.