ProFauna Conference 2013 Resulted in Resolutions to Strengthen Sea Turtles Protection in Indonesia

ProFauna Conference which was held at Petungsewu Wildlife Education Center (P-WEC) was concluded on 14 September 2013 evening with several resolutions to be carried on by ProFauna's activists from all over Indonesia. One of the resolutions is to promote sea turtle protection on a national scale by making use of ProFauna's wide network. Beside sea turtle issue, there are other issues that become the main concern at ProFauna Conference attended by supporters from more than. 16 provinces in di Indonesia and 5 countries, such as forest conservation and online wildlife trade.

Below is an article from Mongabay about ProFauna Conference 2013 (original text in Bahasa Indonesia, translated by ProFauna);

ProFauna: Wildlife Conservation Will Do Better with the Public's Involvement

resolusi ProFauna conference 2013Dozens of activists gathered at Petungsewu Wildlife Education Center ( P - WEC ) in Malang , East Java, to attend ProFauna Conference 2013. At this biennial meeting on 12-14 September 2013,  ProFauna's activists addressed several important issues related to conservation of nature and wildlife.

Chairman of ProFauna Indonesia, Rosek Nursahid explained that forest degradation, Sea Turtle conservation, and the role of mass media in wildlife conservation are the three main topics discussed with ProFauna's activists from all over Indonesia and abroad.

Rosek Nursahid mentioned that forest degradation, has become a very important issue because of the rising number of reports and facts about forest conversion as palm oil plantations , especially in Sumatra .

"The worst forest destruction happens in Sumatra, particularly in Bukit Tigapuluh , North Sumatra and Aceh . These are mainly caused by the expansion of oil palm plantations, "said Rosek.

Rosek added that the severe destruction is due to the reckless land use, by disregarding the principles of environmental conservation. Therefore, the natural forests which are the home to wildlife have been significantly reduced.

"Orangutans and elephants have become marginalized and drastically reduced, and this leads to conflicts with humans. When they lost their habitat, the animals have no other choice but to go into the plantations, "said Rosek , the founder of ProFauna Indonesia .

Forest conservation for ProFauna is very important, because it is also related to the welfare of wildlife and people. The case of deforestation, especially in Sumatra that occurred in Tripa Swamp, Aceh, has resulted in 200 orangutans lost their habitat by 25 percent. Similar cases also happened in other areas other in Sumatra, which is a random mirror of forest degradation in Sumatra, or Indonesia in general.

This means that the forest issue is related to wildlife conservation and the welfare of the surrounding community.

"We do not have the exact data because there is no national thorough, only a few cases in local areas. But it is already very alarming," said Rosek .

Pressure to the local government, as the administrator of the region will be given by ProFauna to stop forest clearing to be used as palm oil plantations. Avocation and campaigns will be conducted with the involvement of local young people and community leaders because forests are the buffer of surrounding people's lives.

"We are going to have campaigns, advocacy, and education activities as a long term investment for future generations," he said .

Turtle Eggs Trade is Still Underway

PenyuIn addition to the issue of deforestation, ProFauna also highlights the problem of sea turtle in Kalimantan. Reports from activists in Kalimantan mentioned that a sea turtle conservation program in Sangkalaki island, district of Berau, East Kalimantan, has transformed into a turtle eggs sales business after the local government took over the program that was regarded as a failed project.

The chairman of ProFauna Indonesia, Rosek Nursahid, said that the turtle conservation program was initiated by local environmental activists who were actually good, and they managed to run the program with approximately 4,000 sea turtles nest every year.

"In the end in turned into a business because there was some 'mafia' involved. They set up situation so that the turtle conservation program in failed, and eventually got taken over by the local government. This makes the illegal eggs trade easier," said Rosek who someday will make a sea turtle conservation movement all around Indonesia.

Turtle conservation is necessary because their survival rate of the eggs and hatchlings (baby sea turtles) is very low. Research result of ProFauna's researchers from Germany shows that only 1 from 1,000 baby sea turtles will live up to adulthood.

"Even though there are so many turtle eggs, thousands or even millions, but actually only a few will survive up to adulthood. That's what makes us less concerned, and then sell the eggs," said Rosek .

Rosek believes that the protection of forests and wildlife, including sea turtles would be more effective if the public and the media work together in enforcing the regulation in the Act No. 5 of 1990.

However, there are lots of complains coming from the media about the number of shows and news displaying wildlife poaching. Rosek emphasize that this could lead the public to imitate the act of poaching as can be watched in the media.

"In 2013 there were more than 70 complaints from the public about the number of television shows or news in printed media which violates wildlife conservation. Such things can make people think that wildlife can indeed be treated in any ways we like," said Rosek who hopes that the media and their crews would understand and have a better perspective related to nature and wildlife conservation.

"Those are the three things discussed at ProFauna's campaign strategy in 2014," said Rosek Nursahid.

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ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats