Wildlife conservation strategy: an assessment of wildlife hunting activities in Sulawesi
Sri, Rejeki. Ikeu
Mustari, Abdul Haris
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Located in the transition zone of the Asiatic and the Australasian biogeographic regions, Sulawesi is remarkable for endemic species richness. In the same time, it is acknowledged also as a biodiversity hotspot. Some people, especially in the northern part of the region were identified had a strong interaction with wildlife by consuming them. Yet little information is available on wildlife hunting on Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, despite many reports suggesting consumption and trade are partly responsible for declining population and extinction of certain species in some regions of the island. The research was conducted to acquire an understanding of hunting practices and patterns. The method used Snowball sampling for selecting wildlife hunters as respondents; data were obtained using structured questionnaires surveys. A total of 598 hunters were interviewed in 179 villages across six provinces in Sulawesi and Buton. It results, wildlife hunters are generally farmers with low levels of education and income. Regardless their ethnic groups or religions in Sulawesi, all respondents are hunting the wildlife. The only differences in motives for hunting, the intensities and the target species. They primarily use traps for catching animals. The minimum wild biomass harvested during one year was 742.4 tonnes, 90% (10 611 individuals caught) of which was composed of Sulawesi warty pig, followed by anoas (4%; 283), rusa deer (3.7%; 420), babirusa (1%; 89), and Sulawesi macaques (0.5%; 327). Minimum eleven of the captured species are protected by national law. Over the island of Sulawesi, minimum wildlife harvesting was predicted about 8 300 tonnes/year, or the average bushmeat supply was about 2.1 kg/year per household. The highest hunting rate was registered in North Sulawesi (34%), Southeast Sulawesi (30%), and Central Sulawesi (22%) provinces. In these provinces, the certain species are hunted as commodities to yield income. The most frequent uses of wildlife were for consuming and selling, while some of the respondents also kept as pets/livestock. The research found that hunting had a significant contribution to the hunters’ household economies. And it also identified that majority of the hunters’ respondent collecting other forest products. The hunting and gathering activities provide protein and fulfill other needs from the forest products, additionally gaining income from selling the products. This research has revealed that in average annual income earned from selling the caught animals and other forest products about IDR 11.09 million and IDR 2.3 million respectively. It is about 63.4% of the Island minimum wages, on top of the main income. Or it is equal to 103% higher than average income from the main income on average. Within the Island of Sulawesi, the estimated total income made from a hunting and gathering activity reached IDR 151.38 billion/year (~US$ 11.3 million). It is about (4.24x10-4)% compared to the Island agriculture sector. At present this informal activity is barely recognized and acts as a silent/hidden contribution to household incomes calculation. Although for the hunters’ respondents, these activities are more alike as an economic-safety-net. Nevertheless, the study found that more than 75% respondents hunted the wildlife from the protected area i.e. the conservation areas and protected forest. The three-quarters of the respondents who cited broke or partly broke the rules, as for them, hunting and gathering were important for their primary livelihood, and they couldn’t afford to change it for another beneficial alternatives activities. However, at present, the respondents realized the captured animals were decreasing in population and some of the vulnerable and protected animals were locally extinct. This research noted that seventy-percent of the respondents were agreed that the population of the hunted animals need to be recovered, more than half of them settle the hunting practices needs to be controlled and managed properly for sustainability of their capture in the long run. And about fifty percent of those who think that the species need to be recovery agreed with some restrictions to bounds their hunting activities. More respondent (20%) really agreed that the restrictions should be an informal rule, than a formal rule (14%). From the biodiversity perspective many species are at risk of extinction due to hunting practices, therefore this research recommends the utilization of the threatened and vulnerable wildlife needs to be carefully regulated to maintain them sustainability. It needs a very tough compromise that adopts the precautionary principle for wildlife utilization; this should firstly consider the conservation of the natural resources. Through understanding the dependences of people to the forest products, and knowing these contributions to the hunters’ household economic, this can benefit and useful in informing effective management strategies and priority actions for the wildlife management strategies in Sulawesi.
- DT - Forestry