press enter to search

How you can help conserve Indonesia's endangered species

Lena Moral Waldmeier

Recent graduate

Jakarta  /  Sat, December 1, 2018  /  08:30 am
How you can help conserve Indonesia's endangered species

Tigers are mostly solitary, which is why they need a large territory to survive. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the world has lost 97 percent of wild tigers in just over a century, and less than 3,500 tigers remain in the wild today. (Shutterstock/*)

Indonesia’s diverse range of fauna is unparalleled across the world. However, through habitat destruction and illegal poaching, the very real threat of extinction is increasing day by day.

There are individuals who dedicate their lives to the protection of these animals and their homes, nevertheless, they need the support of the society that surrounds them, particularly from the younger members of this community.

We are one of the most informed generations to have inhabited the planet, with access to encyclopedias on our phones. While online activism has shared a wealth of information, this knowledge is meaningless without consequential action.

As individuals, we can't make strides toward addressing every single one of the global issues that we face, however we can endeavor to make significant change rather than simply sharing a post or a picture.

These organizations are at the forefront of conservation efforts across Indonesia and offer a glimpse into the impressive work being done through local initiatives and global campaigns.

Save Indonesian Endangered Species (SEIS)

SEIS works as a conduit between international donors and local initiatives, supporting conservation projects that are led by the community, which are ultimately more sustainable, accountable and transparent.

One of its main projects takes place in the Way Kambas National Park where it operates exclusively with Aliansi Lester Rimba Reread (ALeRT), an organization made up of park rangers, elephant carers, villagers and tourist guides.

The organization restores and protects the rainforest and wetlands in the area as well as executes rescue operations and provides various forms of welfare for wildlife. The project is highly focused on working with elephants and the development of ecotourism, allowing for a symbiotic relationship between humans and the wildlife in the region.

Another project the organization is working on supports Orangutan Green in the Tanjung Putting National Park, Central Kalimantan, raising funds to protect the land and its inhabitants, from industries such as palm oil. 

Donations to SEIS can be made directly through its website. The organization also offer tours in an effort to develop ecotourism in the region, which are highly informative and raise awareness of these issues.

Read also: Ecotourism to help turtle conservation efforts in Kalimantan

Gili Shark Conservation

Indonesia has one of the largest shark fishing problems in the world, and a number of these marine creatures face possible extinction if proper research and conservation work is not put in place.

Gili Shark Conservation primarily focuses on research and the collection of data from within the Gili Matra Marine Recreational Reserve in order to provide the information necessary for authorities to make appropriate changes in efforts to protect the zones. It is currently endeavoring to prove that the reefs surrounding Gili Trawangan are in fact a nursery area for white tip reef sharks, thereby conferring increased importance and requiring that their habitat is protected.

The organization hosts volunteers from all over the world for a minimum of two weeks in which people learn to dive and get the relevant training in research methods.

The organization is also heavily invested in a project called “Plastic Free Paradise” whereby it hosts beach clean-ups, up-cycling workshops, dives against debris and offer plastic free training courses for local business as well as hosts conservation classes for elementary schools. The goal is not only to reduce the amount of plastic individuals use but also to make a real change in the way future generations regard their role and duty toward environmental sustainability.

Yayasan Konservasi RASI

The mahakam river dolphin is critically endangered with the latest research suggesting that the current population is around 80  dolphins. While these creatures are admired by local populations, their biggest threat is gill net entanglement.

The organization is in the process of setting up protected areas in order to not only sustain dolphin conservation but also local fisheries. Some 26 villages are a part of this area and must agree to participate in the conservation efforts in order to create different zones for sustainable fishing practices, ecotourism and restoration and conservation programs.

The organization also conducts coastal research on marine animals as well as various initiatives in order to raise awareness in schools across Indonesia. Therefore, donations are always appreciated in order to invest in acoustic deterrents to save dolphins from gill net entanglement and improve ecotourism programs. Volunteers are also welcomed to contact the organization by specifying their areas of expertise.

Currently, the conservation of these animals, as is the case with many others, is being hampered by large-scale economic priorities for national benefit that have negative impacts on their habitat and overlook the importance of small-scale economic opportunities that may be more beneficial to local communities as well as the surrounding wildlife. Habitat protection is a priority, however, it requires community support in order to make it a reality.

Read also: West Papua kicks off conservation campaign

Rhino Foundation of Indonesia (YABI) and the International Rhino Foundation

Their partnership has existed for over 33 years, focusing on rhino protection, conservation and captive breeding across three national parks. In Java, the Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) patrol the Ujung Kulon National Park to work on antipoaching efforts that include monitoring threatened wildlife, deactivating traps and apprehending illegal poachers. These efforts are meant to prevent the extinction of the Javan rhino as well as protect other threatened species in the area through habitat protection.

Similar work is being done to protect rhino’s in Sumatra through the conservation program in the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park. Both these species of rhino are unique to Indonesia and while the rest of the world is largely unaware of their existence, they are facing the very real threat of extinction. Therefore, raising awareness as well as providing donations to the organization is always greatly appreciated.

Indonesia is home to a rich diversity of species, ranking number one with regards to mammalian biodiversity. However, if more support is not provided to the local initiatives set up to protect these animals, this may no longer be the case.

Forum HarimauKita

Due to poaching and habitat loss the population of Sumatran tiger’s is currently less than 600 individuals. Sweeping areas for snares and combating the illegal wildlife trade remains a top priority for this organization, however, influential legislation must be implemented to put an end to these practices.

While it has a growing of base of volunteers, the organization sees the urgency for collaboration between local communities, rangers and the government toward sustainable utilization of forests and effective deterrents for individuals setting up traps.

One of the most effective forms of contribution is reporting anyone trading in tiger parts in the field or over the internet, as law enforcement is able to take action in such cases. As a society, we need to put more pressure on the relevant authorities to campaign against the illegal wildlife trade. As a result, the organization has started a volunteering community called Tiger Heart where any passionate individual can contribute to the cause including donations for snare sweeping or raising awareness.

There are a number of indications that highlight the importance of the tiger to the people of Aceh, West Sumatra and North Sumatra, however, the previously positive relationships that communities had with these creatures have begun to fade in the modern world. (kes)

***

The author is a recent graduate. She is starting a new blog at http://www.lenamoralwaldmeier.com/ and an Instagram account @thebalidog

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.