By Ally Catterick
This is the fasting month of Ramadan, which means no food and crucially, no water from dawn to dusk, for the millions of Muslims around the globe taking part.
Ramadan makes patrols in Kerinci Seblat National Park on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, even tougher than usual. It’s a common misconception that things slow down during Ramadan, and whilst this is may be true for some, the reality for the Tiger Protection & Conservation Units (TPCU’s) guarding the national park and its wildlife, is that the pace gets even more frantic.
People like to break their fast with special dinners and treats of often exotic origins. Poachers are more than happy to offer a nice bit of (poached) venison, and sadly, in the month before Idul Fitri – the most significant Muslim festival in the Islamic Calendar – a huge surge in deer poaching pressure weighs down some areas around the park. Deer are key tiger prey and the snares used to entrap them are often strong enough to hold and kill a tiger. This means that the joint Fauna & Flora International – Kerinci Seblat TPCU teams, fasting or not fasting, have to be able to conduct heightened patrol routines to combat and deter this seasonal poaching.
Hari Raya, a huge celebration marking the end of Ramadan, only adds to the incentive to poach. A massive celebration, Hari Raya is a very costly affair – for both poachers and their prey due to the looming expense of the celebration. The team leaders have developed a novel approach to tackle these two drivers of poaching with the ‘Great Kerinci Snare Sweep.’ More....