SAVE BONA’S HOME!! SAY NO TO SEBLAT COAL MINING!
SAVE BONA’S HOME!! SAY NO TO SEBLAT COAL MINING!
The critically endangered Sumatran elephant population of the Seblat Landscape Area, North Bengkulu, Sumatra is under renewed threat due to the coal mining company PT INMAS ABADI attempting to obtain 600+ hectares of this protected forest to expand their coal output. This process is happening through local government avenues and we request immediate intervention from the highest levels of office in Indonesia to help maintain TWA Seblat Conservation and Landscape Area as it is intended to be. A habitat for the Sumatran elephant and many other endangered species.
TWA Seblat is also Bona’s home at the ECC (Elephant Conservation Center) and is home to 12 elephants. Bona is the youngest and is an 8 year old orphaned Sumatran elephant calf in the care of the Elephant Conservation Centre (ECC) in Seblat, North Bengkulu, Sumatra. Bona survived from an early age due to the amazing efforts from a team of passionate supporters from all over the world helping Bona by providing life saving milk supplements and has now become one of Bengkulu’s tourist icons to visit in the province of Bengkulu. On behalf of all of our global and local supporters, we are shocked to hear the ECC in Seblat Bengkulu will be relocated along with Bona and her family of elephants to accommodate an expansion of coal mining in the protected TWA Seblat Conservation and Landscape Area.
SIGN THE PETITION TO STOP THE COAL MINING IN TWA SEBLAT!
Seblat natural landscape, at the border of North Bengkulu and Mukomuko regencies, is the last “home” for the habitat of Sumateran elephant (Elephas maximus Sumatranus), the last that remains in Bengkulu Province. Forest depreciation due to various interests had narrowed down the living space of this endangered animal that leads to their population decline.
Based on the survey by the Bengkulu – Lampung Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) with the Human – Elephant Conflict Mitigation (MKMG) team in 2004-2009, the estimated population of the Air Ipuh – Air Teramang elephant group was 47. In 2010, based on WCS-IP data, the elephant group population in the specific function Production Forest of Elephant Training Center (PLG) Seblat – HPT Lebong Kandis, the elephant group was estimated to be between 60-100. Then, in 2017, based on the data from Bengkulu – Lampung BKSDA, the estimated population of Production Forest (HP) elephant groups in Air Rami – HPT Lebong Kandis was 37 elephants. Disruptions to its habitat and the increasingly narrowing living space have contributed to perpetuate the conflict between humans and elephants, which have never been handled properly to date. This condition will be aggravated by granting PT Inmas Abadi its coal mining permit (IUP) in Seblat natural landscape from the related parties. Based on the team's investigation, the IUP of PT Inmas Abadi around the location of HPT Lebong Kandis and Seblat TWA had been issued multiple times since 1996.
The latest permit was issued in 2017 based on the Decree of Bengkulu Governor number I.315. DESDM, 2017, concerning the IUP for production operation in North Bengkulu Regency covering an area of 4,051 ha. Based on the analysis from Genesis Bengkulu, 735 ha of concessions were within the TWA Seblat, 1,915 ha in HPT Lebong Kandis Register 69, and 540 ha was within the convertible production forests (HPK). To obtain the area in TWA Seblat where Seblat Elephant Training Center (PLG) located, PT Inmas Abadi had correspondence with the Minister of Environment and Forestry requesting the area release for mining. Regarding this condition, the joined Civil Society Organization (CSO) in Seblat Landscape Rescue Coalition, Bengkulu, considered the IUP issuance of the coal mine production operation signed by the Acting Governor of Bengkulu, Rohidin Mersyah, in October 2017, as a major threat to the future of Sumatran elephants due to the mining concession is the key habitat for the elephants.
"With the regulatory approach, for whatever reason, granting IUP for PT Inmas Abadi is a mistake, since it does not supported by a solid argumentation. The income generated by coal mining that will only benefit a handful of people is minuscule compared with the ecological burden that the people will receive, including the loss of the elephants’ living space," said the Head of Kanopi Bengkulu, Ali Akbar.
According to Ali, the threat of clean water crisis will also haunt the communities in the sub-districts of Putri Hijau and Marga Sakti Seblat, which have been relying their water access on Seblat River. To date, the people in the communities are utilizing the clean water from Seblat River, including the residents in the villages of Suka Baru, Suka Maju, Suka Merindu, Suka Medan, Suka Negara, Karya Jaya, Talang Arah, and Pasar Seblat.
The Director of WALHI Bengkulu, Beni Ardiansyah, has considered that the plan for coal mining owned by PT Inmas Abadi in TWA Seblat that requires the release of Seblat TWA forest areas is very contrary to the principle of legal certainty over the status of forest areas. "A forest area whose legal status has been designated as an area with conservation as the main function has to be maintained because a solid legal status will definitely be the main instrument in the process of protection and preservation of a said forest area," said Beni. The Director of Genesis Bengkulu, Uli Artha Siagian, also considered that forest release, especially for mining, would destroy the region's services as a life support. The government prioritizes the sustainability of mining rather than ecological safety by breaking through the existing regulations. This action is signified by issuing the mining permit for PT Inmas Abadi production operations with the status of "Clean and Clear,” even though the area is a conservation forest. "We had sent two requests for IUP data and AMDAL
PT Inmas to ESDM, but we have not received even one reply to date, and this leaves a big question mark," Uli said.
Not only destroying the life support area, coal mining in Seblat natural landscape is a threat to the village’s tourism activities around TWA Seblat. The Director of PT Alesha Wisata, Krishna Gamawan, said that the collaboration between tourism and conservation was running well in TWA Seblat as the (Analisis Mengenai Dampak Lingkungan/Environmental Impact Analysis)
documents of embodiment of conservation activities and the effort to improve the livelihood of rural communities around TWA Seblat. In the collaboration between PT Alesha Wisata, Ulayat Foundation, and Seblat Ecotourism Forum in Sukabaru Village, there are 29 forum members consisting of the village youth, village government, to independent groups that provide Seblat tourism packages that include exploring the Sumatran elephant habitat.
"The tourism activities that have been initiated are then threatened by the existence of coal mining operation, and this is very worrying, because we know, tourism will be the backbone of the government's program in diminishing poverty, not anything else," he explained. The Coordinator of Bengkulu Rare Flower Community (Komunitas Peduli Puspa Langka – KPPL), Sofian Ramadhan, said that the Seblat natural landscape is not only the home to wildlife such as Sumatran elephants, Sumatran tigers, sun bears, tapirs, hornbills, and other types of fauna, but also the largest native habitat of the world’s biggest flower, Rafflesia arnoldii. "The effort to demand changes in the area to become a coal mining operation by PT Inmas Abadi in TWA Seblat is bound to destroy the forest ecosystem, which results in the destruction of all biodiversity in it. Therefore, the Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya must stop this mining plan," said Sofian.
For this condition, the alliance demands:
1. The Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya to maintain Seblat landscape forest area to be the home to the charismatic Sumatran elephant in Bengkulu region and refuse all requests from PT Inmas Abadi to obtain a borrowing permit to use the forest areas for mining.
2. The Acting Governor of Bengkulu, Rohidin Mersyah, to revoke PT Inmas Abadi's Mining Business License (IUP) and to conduct a moratorium on granting the IUP mining in Bengkulu Province.
3. The Department of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) to disclose the IUP production operations documents of PT Inmas Abadi.
4. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to revoke PT Inmas Abadi's CnC status.
Seblat Landscape Rescue Coalition: Kanopi Bengkulu, Walhi Bengkulu, Genesis, Ulayat, Alesha Wisata, KPPL Bengkulu, Komunitas Mangrove Bengkulu, Rafflesia Motions Productions, Elephant Care Community (ECC) Seblat, Rekam Nusantara, Forum Kader Konservasi Indonesia (FK3I) Bengkulu, Lingkar Institute, Bengkulu Heritage, Yayasan Berdiri Nusantara Sejahtera, Komunitas untuk Hutan Sumatera, Animal Sanctuary Trust Indonesia and HIMPADI KETRINA.