Indonesia may have had its focus on the Presidential Elections on 9 July (the results which were declared on 22 July) but here in Kerinci Seblat National Park, another competition was under way.
This competition also involved an awful lot of counting – albeit in just two provinces of Sumatra and not Indonesia-wide – and it also took time for final results to come in and to be declared on 23 July.
A tiger's pugmark found by the team in Bengkulu. Credit: FFI
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the result you have been awaiting with baited breath…the winners of this, the third Great Kerinci Snare Sweep.
And so…First place… goes to…(calm yourselves folks)…
M Rozali and his Unit (TPCU III) with 5,667 points – most won in the final two days of The Sweep in the forest on the Kerinci Merangin district borders – which also explains why M and his team were a day late back to basecamp from the field.
Second prize goes to Muslim and TPCU II…who were tidily in the lead with 5,341 points until pipped at the post by M.
Third prize, with a hugely respectable 4,000 points, goes to Endi Mistanto and his TPCU VI (which was only set up last year) although Nurhamidi, coordinator for the Bengkulu teams, deserves a mention on this one as he joined Endi on one of the patrols which found and destroyed five active tiger snares (so that’s 500 points x 5) just after the start of Ramadan in June.
The panel of judges decided to award a consolation prize to Jhonisman’s TPCU V. They only scored 600 points (for finding and destroying 30 active deer snares at 50 points per active snare as well as numerous small mammal and bird snares) but had to cut short one patrol after arresting a group of illegal loggers, confiscating their chainsaws and carrying them out of the forest in the intense lowland heat of Bengkulu…all while fasting from dawn till dusk.
TPCU rangers cutting a tiger snare. Credit: FFI
In all, a truly shocking total of 25 active tiger snares were found and destroyed by the six TPCUs during the six weeks of the Great Kerinci Snare Sweep 2014 (more than twice the number found in the whole of 2011) – all on patrols launched on the basis of information secured from investigations or from community information networks.
The teams also found and destroyed a total of 60 active deer snares set by hunters seeking to exploit consumer demand for special meals to break the Ramadan Fast – almost all as a result of information secured or on the basis of years of experience in identifying areas at threat.
The teams are now on a well-deserved break with their families and preparing to celebrate the great Muslim festival of Idul Fitri or – as we say in Indonesia – Hari Raya.
For now, at least, the tigers in the areas where those snares were destroyed are safer.
On behalf of the team, to everybody, Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Bathin, Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri – whether Christian or Muslim, a peaceful and happy Hari Raya with your family and loved ones.