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null Connecting Elephants to People's Hearts through Datuk Gedang Tourism

Connecting Elephants to People's Hearts through Datuk Gedang Tourism

Jambi - Thursday (January 13, 2020) the Animal Handling Unit Team from the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) Jambi together with the Conservation Partner Society (MMK), Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), SOS Indonesia, and APP Sinar Mas’ supplier company, radioed tracking of a male elephant named "Ozzy" when he visited the oil palm plantation of a resident of RT 03, Sungai Landai Hamlet, which is in a production forest area.

Ozzy is known to regularly explore the buffer area of ​​Bukit Tigapuluh, Jambi.

Responding to this phenomenon, Hefa Edison, Head of the Tebo Conservation Resort - BKSDA Jambi, said that human-elephant conflict is a negative interaction that arises due to the use of the same space in the Sumatran elephant habitat.

"Almost 70 percent of the Sumatran elephant's habitat is outside conservation areas. Unfortunately, agricultural land and plantations that are managed by humans are the elephant's favorite forage crops such as oil palm, rubber, and secondary crops," explained Hefa.

Hefa added, Ozzy is one of 120 Sumatran elephants from five groups which live in the buffer area of ​​Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, whose habitat is situated between plantations and community-owned fields. Therefore, it is necessary to build an agreement between the parties to mitigate the conflict in a participatory manner, as well as implement law enforcement to prevent hunting and prolonged conflict.

Meanwhile, Syamsuardi, an expert in mitigating conflicts with elephants from the Indonesian Elephant Conservation Forum (FKGI) who is also the Chair of the Wildlife Forest Network Association (PJHS), said that elephants are not the enemy of society. He hopes that the community will not respond excessively when elephants are present in the area of ​​oil palm, rubber and other secondary crops.

"In an effort to conserve animals and mitigate potential conflicts, it is more ideal if the forest area is owned, with clear management legalities and has a commitment to manage the area in a landscaped manner with other stakeholders in it. In this case, the community can also be given permission by the Ministry of Environment and Foresty (KLHK) to manage forest areas through the social forestry model," explained Syamsuardi.

In line with Syamsuardi, Head of the Social Security Department of PT. Wirakarya Sakti (WKS) Jambi, Faisal Fuad said that the Company is ready to cooperate with any party and is ready to support social forestry programs with empowerment programs for the surrounding community.

"If support is needed in terms of training, procurement of seeds and market opening or distribution of crops, the Company will be ready to cooperate. All to ensure there is an alternative to conflict mitigation with Sumatran elephants," concluded Faisal.

Datuk Gedang Tourism Development in the MKB Gapoktanhut Area

Poniman, Chair of the Muara Kilis Bersatu Forest Farmers Group (Gapoktanhut) said that more than 53% of the IUPHKm area (Community Forest Management Business Permit) Gapoktan is designated for forest and wildlife protection blocks. The Gapoktan IUPHKm area is part of the elephant corridor which has biodiversity potential which is directly adjacent to Bukit Tigapuluh National Park. In addition, the Gapoktan area is also in direct contact with the protected area of ​​PT. Wirakarya Sakti (WKS) District 8, and the restoration area of ​​PT. Alam Bukit Tigapuluh (ABT).

"A few months ago, the Jambi BKSDA also provided a grant in the form of productive economic assistance, which we focused on on the habitat development program for both feed and green fences as a substitute for electric fencing. This assistance was provided based on the results of a previous habitat feasibility survey by the Jambi BKSDA and its partners. "explained Poniman.

Poniman added that the Jambi BKSDA grant was focused on enrichment activities in the elephant feeding pocket with king grass species in the protection block. In addition, it can also be used for Datuk Gedang Tourism as a special interest tour.

In order to realize Datuk Gedang Tourism, in November 2021, the MKB Gapoktan has collaborated with six villages supporting the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park through the establishment of the Six Village Tourism Forum (Forum NamDes) initiated by the Jambi BKSDA. The existence of the Elephant Conservation Information Center (PIKG), which has been operating since October 2021 in Muara Sekalo, Sumay District, Tebo Regency, opens up other potential for elephant protection efforts.

Edi Mulyono, a resident of Muara Kilis who is also an elephant handler, added that in early August 2021 he participated in a joint patrol in the MKB Gapoktanhut area with the Bukit Tigapuluh Collaborative Platform Forum (PKBT), the Jambi Provincial Forestry Service, and two concession permit holders flanking the HKM Gapoktan. "People who have already worked on land in the utilization block have begun to change their cropping pattern with coffee plants so that they are not damaged by elephants," said Edi Mulyono. He believes that the HKm Gapoktanhut MKB management plan already includes protection of elephants.

Syamsuardi at the end of his interview stated his support for elephant conservation programs that synergize with each other; mutual cooperation between the government, institutions, companies and the community in the Bukit Tigapuluh area. "There should be no unmanaged area so that accountability is clearer by adhering to the principle of co-existence and the commodities being developed are those that are friendly to the Sumatran elephant," said Syamsuardi.



The article also appears on: Antaranews Jambi, 9 February 2022




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