: In the News :
Forces Unite in the Fight Against Indonesian Wildlife Crime
Forces Unite in the Fight Against Indonesian Wildlife Crime
ClickPress (press release), United Arab Emirates
Global News Distribution
An intensive training course on wildlife protection highlights the commitment and concern of Government, NGOs and industry regarding the crisis effecting Indonesia's endangered tigers, orangutans and rainforest habitat.
[Thu Feb 23 2006] SUMATRA,INDONESIA: This week in Sumatra nationwide efforts
to eradicate poaching and illegal trade of tiger, rhino, elephant, orang-utan,
made progress with the initiation of an intensive "boot-camp" training course
focused exclusively on enhancing wildlife protection. Designed to increase the
role of local villagers and communities, the course is unique in that trainees
are supported by, not only Government and non-governmental conservation organisations,
but also by private industry.
Organised by the Sumatran Tiger Conservation
Program (STCP) and hosted by the Department of Forestry (Bukit Tigapuluh National
Park), the course brings together a diverse group of twenty-nine dedicated individuals
from across Indonesia, united by a common mission to conserve some of the worldfs
most endangered wildlife.
International and Indonesian conservation groups
sending trainees include Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund, Sumatran
Orang-utan Conservation Program, and the Sungei Wain Protected Forest Management
Unit (Kalimantan). Department of Forestry Ranger Police in attendance have travelled
from West Sumatra, North Sumatra, Aceh, Jambi, Riau (Sumatra) and Central Kalimantan
In addition to Indonesian and foreign instructors from Bukit Tigapuluh
National Park and the STCP, training staff have been assembled from provincial
Police, the local health department, the Indonesian Rhino Conservation Program
and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (Frankfurt Zoological Society).
The training board also includes 8 members of Indonesiafs new and elite Forest
Police Rapid Reaction Force (SPORC: Satuan Polisi Hutan Reaksi Cepat) | only
recently formalised by the Minister of Forestry in January 2006.
training, starting on the 2nd February, runs for 15 days. This is followed by
10 days of practical field exercises. A final 5 day "live" exercise places 8
widely dispersed protection units deep in the mountains of Bukit Tigapuluh with
the task of, through radio coordination between teams, designing and executing
the strategic interception and safe arrest of an "evading" 9th team.
protection system being promoted is one which relies on recruitment and intensive
training of personnel from local communities surrounding the protected area,
each unit lead by an armed ranger from the Department of Forestry. The participation
of villagers in this has, in practice, seen a significant increase in the local
acceptability of park and wildlife law enforcement efforts. It has also increased
the perception of community ownership of nearby forests, developed a stronger
sense of stewardship, and greatly facilitated the delivering of conservation
messages to the heart of surrounding villages. In return both rangers and park
management enjoy the support and empowerment generated by these close community
The wildlife protection "boot-camp" this year represents the second
such training in Bukit Tigapuluh. In late 2004 the first camp recruited, trained
and deployed 5 anti-poaching and habitat protection teams across the park. These
Tiger and Orangutan Protection Units (TOPU) have been operational since then,
providing a front-line defence against wildlife poaching and illegal logging.
Together with the national park, the TOPUs have had unprecedented success in
arresting and prosecuting a major wildlife poaching and trade syndicate stretching
across several provinces. They have also been effective in eradicating large-scale
illegal logging from the parkfs buffer zone and provided ongoing monitoring of
conditions in the remotest parts of the 1,400 square kilometre park.
and local Government support the units have also set-up a community school in
the most isolated settlement of the parkfs indigenous forest-dwelling tribes-people
(Talang Mamak). Literacy rates of local children have been raised from 0 to 60%
over 2 years. A large number of adults also attend evening classes. A result
is that the TOPUs receive the strong support of this remote tribe, including
full access to their wealth of knowledge about the surrounding forest and its
A goal of this yearfs training is to break-down barriers and develop
closer cooperation between NGOs working throughout Indonesia, and the building
of bridges between Government, non-government and industrial partners with a
concern for wildlife conservation.
The STCPfs field coordinator in Bukit Tigapuluh,
Muhamed Yunus, summarises the benefits of the course: "The depth and intensity
of training is unparalled. Navigation alone accounts for more than 30 hours of
class time. More importantly, the skills developed are immediately applied in
the field through a series of simulated week-long operations - all conducted
under extreme conditions - identical to those in which wildlife protection teams
do their valuable work".
A unique and welcome addition to the group this year
is the attendance of staff from Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (APRIL - Asia Pacific
Resources International Ltd) - a major forestry plantation company that operates
close to several high biodiversity sites within Riau province. Developing strong
links between Government, NGOs and the major land-owning industries is considered
by many as the key to ensuring responsible future management of Indonesiafs natural
"Itfs now hoped that other multinational companies in Riau will follow
the lead shown by RAPP in acknowledging responsibility for protection of wildlife
in and around their concessions" reports STCPfs
director, Dr. Neil Franklin.
Notes for Editors:
-- The Sumatran tiger, recognised as critically endangered by the IUCN and
as an Appendix I CITES species, is now limited to less than 500 wild animals.
-- The Sumatran Tiger Conservation Program is a collaborative effort of the
Indonesian Department of Forestry, The Tiger Foundation (Canada) and the Sumatran
Tiger Trust (UK). It has been working to ensure a future for Sumatran tigers
and their rainforest habitat since 1996.
-- More information at http://wild-tiger.blogspot.com
Keywords: sumatran tiger, indonesia, sumatra, sumatran tiger conservation programme,
wildlife crime, training, bukit tigapuluh, riau, rapp, april, protection, tpu,
protection unit, forest, rainforest, enforcement, law, traffic, collaboration,
environment, conservation, wildlife