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Increased protection for elephants and other wildlife through corridors

In Aceh, human elephant conflicts (HEC) pose a serious threat for communities as well as for the animals themselves. Largely due to human encroachment, the space for elephants to find food and roam freely is shrinking. This results in confrontations with people, often resulting in the destruction of their crops – and worse. A decree committing to utilise and manage space for wildlife protection and corridors issued by the Mayor of North Aceh will alleviate this tension, ensuring that wildlife corridors are well protected through strong policies and contributions by private sector actors and communities.

Munawaratul Makhya / WWF Indonesia / wwf.or.id

Elephant food as a barrier

Engagement with community groups on HEC mitigation generated support for protecting biodiversity in the Jambo Aye landscape among community members. In Cot Girek, village members committed to providing 15 hectares of land which will be dedicated for elephant food plants, while the community at Pintu Rime in Arul Gading started to enrich elephant food in a six hectare area, in order to reduce the negative impacts of HEC on the village. The community’s understanding of HEC and the opportunities around dedicated land for elephants have grown. This is helped by the fact that the food planted also provides economic benefits for the people who live around the village.

Protect the environment

The decree to utilise and manage space for wildlife protection and corridors enforces the commitments by communities. It was followed by an agreement among customary institutions to protect the environment. This regulates rights and obligations for all communities and parties, including companies engaged in those settlements. For example, it is no longer permitted to cut down trees, burn forests, open land, pollute rivers, hunt for animals, or open economic ventures in wildlife passages.

Elephant road warning sign

Ecotourism based wildlife management

In addition, SRJS partners organised an exchange visit to India to show success stories of ecotourism based wildlife management to the heads of provincial agencies and the Aceh Parliament. The visit aimed to encourage and promote improved governance for wildlife protection through better policy, regulation, and practices. The head of Aceh’s Forestry Agency expressed amazement on how the visit changed his perspective, particularly around how civil society organisations and government should work together to safe wildlife. This led the Aceh Parliament to agree on incorporating ecotourism based wildlife management in local regulations. Ratification is planned for 2019.

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