Sunday, 4 October 2015

Acehnese March To Save Elephants and Rhinos

A volunteer wearing an elephant and rhino mask
On 4 October, over 2015 cities joined a global march to protect elephants and rhinos referred to as the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER). This widely participated global march coincided with the World Animal Day.

Acehnese March To Save Elephants and Rhinos

In Banda Aceh, more than 100 people trekked a 3 kilometres route passing the downtown traffic and hooting cars in response to signs held by marchers that read “No Forest, No Future! Save Leuser Ecosystem, Aceh”.

This global initiative started in Kenya on January 2013 in response to eleven elephants killed and hacked off their tusks, the latest large slaughter of the animals to be reported amid insatiable global demand for ivory in Tsavo Conservancy Centre, in the southeastern part of Kenya, according to a CNN report.

The series of open campaign is intended to promote awareness of the importance of conservation, especially in rescue efforts Sumatran elephant and the Sumatran rhino from extinction. This activity is also expected to increase the capacity and intimacy shared across agencies and communities in Aceh.

Banda Aceh into a campaign location elephant and rhino protection because currently the Leuser Ecosystem (KEL) in Aceh and North Sumatra is one of the last strongholds for the life of elephants and Sumatran rhinos. KEL holds the last hope of survival and the presence of these animals on earth. In addition to the Leuser Ecosystem which is located in the province of Aceh, Sumatra also has two National Parks Conservation Areas which still support the life of elephants and rhino namely Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park and Way Kambas National Park.

Youth fight to save elephants and rhinos
Elephants and Sumatran rhino has been declared critically endangered and listed in the IUCN Red List. The threat of extinction even more severe than the African elephant and rhino. Sumatran rhino in Peninsular Malaysia even been declared extinct by the Government of Malaysia this year. Javan rhino was just left in Ujung Kulon National Park. In the last 3 years, nearly 200 elephants of Sumatra (10% of total population) have died. The hunters usually target the horns, toenails, and organs rhino. 

Meanwhile, the Leuser Ecosystem which is home to a population of Sumatran rhinos and elephants experienced various pressures toward destruction and deforestation drastically. Indonesian forest degradation rate reaches 2 million hectares per year. Road construction without ecological considerations have prompted forest conversion, illegal logging, poaching and increased human-wildlife conflict. This is a major threat of forest sustainability Aceh today.

Danurfan, a well-known wildlife enthusiat in Aceh who is also a staunch advocate for elephants and rhinos said in a speech during the march that “It is ironic, when the animal is very beneficial for nature is lost from the surface of the earth just because we are too late to save him.”

Many around the world marched for a good cause towards helping rhinos and elephants on that Saturday. Now that the march is over, what’s the next ? Yes, there are lots of NGOs pledging their wholesome intention through their vision and mission statements and lots of international talks have been held at the United Nations level, all in the name of preventing elephants and rhinos extinction.

What are we doing as world citizens to stop this from happening? Ideally we don’t want to see elephant orphanages or elephant conservation centres receiving orphans because their mothers were killed by poachers (as baby elephants can suffer from such trauma) for their tusks in Aceh or because of habitat loss from corporations wanting more lands to develop palm plantations in Indonesia.

The unsustainable practice of corporations that produce palm oil in Indonesia gives birth to orphans in Aceh; the use of elephants for human entertainment in Asia, treats elephants as commodities, demeaning their importance in the ecology.
Kids fight to save elephants and rhinos
Questions surrounding “what to do” shall remain, marches and protests will still occur, reports on the number of elephants or rhinos killed will still be on news , hashtags like #SaveElephants, #SaveRhinos will still trend on social medias. Whilst it is okay for these to still remain, many of us from now on should pick ourselves up and act. After all, we don’t want to live in a world where our children and our children’s children can only read: “Elephants and rhinos once roamed the Earth.”

As a writer, an observer and a participant of last Saturday’s global march, I realised that writing one article is not enough to help. Together, we can save the environment from the threat of extinction. Together, we are all responsible for ensuring the development of safe and environmentally sustainable. Together, we must ensure the survival of our children and grandchildren in the future.

Thanks for visiting  Acehnese March To Save Elephants and Rhinos article. I hope things will get interesting going forward…

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