For the island Sumatra it is a constant battle on all corners to try to win the war on protecting the remaining natural habitat for it’s critically endangered species. The constant battle for equilibrium to co-exist with these amazing animals and the fight against pure greed will be one that is fought for many years to come.
The TWA Seblat Conservation Area is one habitat in the north of the province of Bengkulu. The last remaining natural habitat for 37 wild elephants that call this jungle paradise home. Unfortunately in the last 12 months a coal mining company (PT Inmas Abadi) neighbouring the TWA Seblat Conservation Area has been seeking approval to expand its mining sector to include a vast area of the protected TWA Seblat. This was initially and rightly so rejected by the Ministry for Forestry in Jakarta, but that rejection has now been challenged and initially supported to proceed by the acting Governor of Bengkulu.
It’s not difficult to understand the incredible impact this would have on the remaining species calling Seblat home and a short term financial gain for some will have further long term and devastating impacts on the local communities and the conservation of the critically endangered species like the Sumatran elephants and Sumatran tigers as well as many other species.
The long term future for the last remaining natural habitats throughout the island of Sumatra is to find balance in co-existing and create more sustainable futures for the local communities in celebrating such habitats and these amazing animals. It is not possible to continue destroying these habitats without any thought to the future and luckily there are enough people in the local communities of Bengkulu who are willing to fight for what is right.
A local community of NGO’s and special interest groups have banded together to try to fight this request to use the protected forest of Seblat for mining. Showing the local government the long term impacts and the potential for sustainable use for the local communities through programs such as eco tourism.
For local tourism and the potential for international visitors it is so important to capitalise on the amazing opportunity that is on the doorstep of so many local communities. The potential for tourism will certainly provide a living for the local villages for many years to come and help sustain the habitat that is so precious for the endangered species of Sumatra.
A list of requests to in order to stop the use of TWA Seblat from being mined for coal.
1. Requesting the Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya to maintain the Seblat Landscape forest area to be home to the Sumatran Elephant charismatic animal in the Bengkulu region and reject all requests from PT Inmas Abadi to obtain a borrowing permit to use the forest area for mining.
2. Requested the Acting Governor of Bengkulu, Rohidin Mersyah, to revoke the PT Inmas Abadi Mining Business License (IUP) and conduct a moratorium on the granting of mining IUPs in Bengkulu Province.
3. Requesting the Department of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) of Bengkulu Province to open the IUP document of PT Inmas Abadi’s production operations.
4. Request the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to revoke the status of PT Inmas Abad CnC.
This battle to stop the mining of TWA Seblat is significant. Not only for the habitat itself but also for the local communities to know that they can have a voice and they can influence decisions that are better suited for the long term benefits even when the opposite is being proposed. This will help shape the future for many protected habitats around the island of Sumatra and will be a win for the long term future.