According to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, providing more employment opportunities in relevant communities will considerably reduce wildlife crimes.
Director Istanto of the Forest Security and Prevention stated that those who commit wildlife crimes “are just doing their jobs,” pointing to socioeconomic factors as a major cause of illegal wildlife practices.
Istanto explained, “The local government should provide alternatives and create employment opportunities for the people.” To provide an example, the director cited Sumatra’s Kerinci Seblat National Park, a 1.1 million-hectare wildlife park that employs only around 50 forest rangers.
Local government units in Indonesia have small respective budgets for wildlife conservation, but these local offices are willing to improve the welfare of the environment.
The forest security director expressed that ministry officials would like to recruit more rangers but are prevented from doing so because of the very limited budget of the local government. The proposal came with the ministry’s assessment of the expansive area, which is clearly hard to maintain.
There has been a number of tiger trap sightings in the Kerinci Seblat National Park, giving the director reason to believe that there should be more wildlife rangers guarding the area.
The director added that offenders are normally motivated by the lack of job opportunities and urged by the need to provide for their families.
The forest protection director, however, believes that anyone caught committing a wildlife offense should be punished and that punishing those who are found guilty will serve as a deterrent. Conservationists have previously raised cause for concern, as illegal wildlife trade has had a huge impact on the wildlife populations in the country.
The director recommended the need for more awareness campaigns to change the attitudes of the public about wildlife conservation. He hopes such policies will inform the public about the benefits of environmental conservation.
With its law enforcement efforts in 2016 alone, the ministry helped recover an estimated 4 million hectares of land and about 4,666 animals were protected as a result.