Lonely Conservationists

Fahrizul (My journey is my testimony)

Written by Fahrizul Ikram

Hello Friends of conservation, My Name is Fahrizul Ikram, I came from Sumatra precisely in Aceh, Indonesia. Speaking of conservation, I started a career here in 2019. It is quite young, but my journey knows the world of conservation began since 2014. Where is the difficult times for me to get around the outskirts of the Leuser Ecosystem area of East Coast of Sumatra. Not infrequently I have to walk and ask for a ride to passing vehicles. Sometimes they ignore, there are also not to get to the destination, and at the lucky time I get a ride to my destination. But it’s okay, it’s not a big deal for me. Initially I just want to enjoy nature, like mountains, Forest, Waterfall, River, Caves and so on. That’s because I really like the wild journey. And that makes me most obsessed is climbing the mountain. Everyone knows that Indonesia’s natural is very beautiful, so many mountains scattered from Sabang to Merauke. There are several mountains in Aceh which are very famous among the climbers, one of them is Mount Loser. Honestly, until now I have not been able to climb it because it costs to there and its division is very large. Only elite climbers can reach it. Still for me it was not a problem, there were still many other mountains I could do and didn’t cost much.

On the End of 2015, I travel for mountain climbing surveys to Pante Bidari village, Aceh East. A village is adjacent to Leuser ecosystem area. A few days in the village, I found some wildlife which is almost extinct status like orangutans and Sumatran elephants. At first glance, I see them fine. But after searching in more in the village community is often a conflict with wild elephants that are there. Even some farmers there regard the elephant is an enemy. It is in the cause to be by elephants the often damaging their plants so that the farmers experience great losses. Though farming is the only livelihood of them to survive. I tried to understand the problem, and the results still didn’t find the idea of the two sides. Both elephants, as well as farmers, both feel disadvantaged. On the one hand, farmers blame the elephant that damages their plants. On the other hand if we look from the elephant point of view, they can’t be blamed. Because of they lived a blend of one place to another, and they will be back through the same trajectory every year. Naturally if they damage the farmer plants because it is a path that he used to be the forest but now has turned into plantations. I’m as a human being also feel pity to the farmers and understands what he feels, but my little heart also doesn’t accept if blame the elephant. Honestly, I think it is their place, they are also entitled to live there. Perhaps the only solution is best in my opinion is the most perfect man created on this earth that rebuild. Humans who have conscience, should be able to coexist with these wild animals. Humans who can think, then maniggles should think about the best exit without hurting and harming the elephants. They will not be browse if we don’t bother him. However, until now, I don’t have a bravery to deliver it to the farmers in the village. I am really sure they will not accept from my words. Yaaaah, it still imprints in my mind until now.

In the following years I continue to visit remote villages to enjoy nature such as rivers and waterfalls. That time I arrived in a village, his name was a ‘Selamat’ village, District of Tenggulun. I met a hunter in the forest. The hunter does not use weapons such as a rifle or the like. Rather but only a few types of bird traps, and pork or deer traps. I asked directions to the waterfall.  Interested in seeing the trap he was carrying, I talked to a briefly with the man. He hunted already more than 10 years. He did that because he didn’t have another job. Almost every day he went to the forest to earn a living. The type of animal that he often gets is like pigforests, deer, goats, and different types of birds. To trap the deer he uses a rope to make his trap. He will install several traps in every point that the pigs are often passed by pigs, deer, goats and other animals. After being attached, two days after he will check every trap in the tide. Others with birds, he uses a cage in there’s a bird as a bait to attract other birds. It doesn’t take long time the birds will come and get into his capture. From the result of the trap, he admitted enough to meet the daily needs of his family.When I asked, “did you ever get the tiger from the traps?” The man replied “never”. He admits that the tiger is an animal protected by the law, and will be wearing a criminal law if it violate it. When I tell that the deer is also the animal protected, the man also realizes it. I ventured to ask, if you already know that deer is a protected animal, why do you still do it? The man replied “I realized that my work is not justified, but if I don’t do this how is me to meet the needs of my life? I have a family at home that should be fed. I have three children who have to get education. I don’tt have another job. If the government provides a job and provides guarantees, I must have been going to work this job. ” I’m silent a moment. In my mind, the man was no choice to meet his needs. What is done is the composition. He’s right, because to survive, but he’s wrong because the hunting wildlife in protect is a deeds of breaking.

Furthermore, Still in District Aceh Tamiang, in 2018 I did a survey existence of a cave. That time I heard to hear there is a cave in Kaloy Village, then I am interested in visiting it. In this village there is a river that stretches from the mountains flowing to the sea. This is the Tamiang River. This river is excavated type C  like a rock  and sand. The community here partly works Collect stones and sand, others are farmers. On my way to the cave, I have to walk down this river. In this river I witnessed there a hord rod of the tree that was driffted in the river. The tree rods were unnatural. No way the trees were drifting because of the landslide. Because there are forced pieces at both ends. The soothes are so tidy. It must be there up there is a broke-tree activity. Soon, someone slid with a raft that brought some pieces of wood. Because I look strange, the man sees cynical against me. Maybe he thought I was an officer who was patrolling. This view haunt me, it turns out the tropical rainforest Claimed UNESCO as a world heritage that must be at this time is very threatened. My assumption was only two, the first logger had no choice, or other wise the logger thought the job made a bowling advantage. How all this can happen. Natural circumstances are not balanced again. With the scenery-this way of the end I decided in me, “I cann’t just stay with just looking like this. I have to do something to be able to stop all this even though it’s just a bit. “

In 2019, I am joining and working on A conservation foundation in Sumatra. I am very happy to join here. Here I can voice my heart and got full support. Moving directly in conducting supervision Forests, approach and provide education to the public, respond and help resolve conflict between farmers and wildlife. And I have a identifier card as an officer. But that doesn’t mean all done, another challenge has come. Leuser ecosystem is not unbalanced, flooding floods often come, floods more continuously, wildlife such as Sumatran tigers have come down to the residential community prey their livestock. Many orangutans are isolated and can’t return to the forest due to the deforestation. Already the time the world takes a serious step for this problem. I’m sure, fighting together voicing our conservation will get a natural balance back.

Thank you for reading my story, I apologize for not having a good writing of work in English.

For more of Fahrizul , check out @fahrizul_ikram on Instagram

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