Conservation Based Ecotourism: The Willingness to Change
A trip and trekking to search for the wild Sumatran elephants and tigers in Tenggulun, Gunung Leuser National Park, Aceh, and North Sumatra. It’s going to be a trip to protect degraded areas of Gunung Leuser National Park and supporting the local community through conservation-based ecotourism to fight against deforestation and palm oil expansion.
What is Tenggulun?
Tenggulun is the name of a village, located at the edge of a degraded area of Gunung Leuser National Park at the border of Aceh and North Sumatra, Indonesia. Tenggulun has an area of approximately 29,555 hectares. Before the 1970s, this sub-district in Aceh Tamiang District was a natural forest. However, until 2001, the Indonesian government granted forest concession rights permits to two corporations: PT. Industri Plywood Tjipta Rimba Djaja and PT. Kuala Langsa. After the granted permit expired, the ex-forest land in Tenggulun was sold and converted into a massive palm oil plantation covering an area of 4,000 hectares. The palms are illegally planted, and the majority of the owners are not locals. Many plantations have entered the Gunung Leuser National Park’s protected forests.
It is critical to learn more about this village because the expansion of palm oil plantations and deforestation appears to be the main issues in this village, and this village has also been designated as a degraded area by the local corporations that cause deforestation and palm oil plantation expansion, the authority of Gunung Leuser National Park is preparing its best to remove them.
Conservation Based Ecotourism in Tenggulun, Aceh, Sumatra.
400 hectares of Gunung Leuser National Park’s protected forests have been transformed into illicit palm oil plantations, whereas Tenggulun is well-known for its wild elephants and tigers. The desire of local residents who want a change from illegal activities that damage the environment, from logging forests to selling Dipterocarpaceae hardwood and planting oil palm trees, towards conservation-based ecotourism has been conveyed by representatives of the Tenggulun community to the Gunung Leuser National Park authorities and SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject).
What Can You Do to Help Tenggulun Ecotourism?
We open tours in Tenggulun, Gunung Leuser National Park to look for wild Sumatran tigers and elephants. The activities will be assisted by authorities from Gunung Leuser National Park, such as forest police or rangers, and guided by local communities that are involved in supporting ecotourism activities in the village of Tenggulun. Ecotourism activities in Tenggulun will be expected to provide income to the locals and raise awareness of how vital Leuser’s biodiversity is to be the same as in Bukit Lawang, Batu Katak, and Tangkahan, Langkat, North Sumatra. Tenggulun’s conservation-based local communities require considerable attention from the international community in order to realize their objective and establish the Tenggulun Ecotourism.
Local Communities and Conservation-Based Ecotourism vs Deforestation.
It’s been 18 years, Gunung Leuser National Park in Tenggulun, Aceh Tamiang, Sumatra is facing the unstoppable deforestation issue. Based on the experiences of what has been implemented in Bukit Lawang with our conservation-based ecotourism concept, we started to figure it out that the solution for Tenggulun, could be the same. As a park that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, Gunung Leuser National Park provides remarkable biodiversity and each species plays an important role as an ecosystem engineer for the biosphere of Sumatran rainforests, making it extremely important to be a protected park.
Covert and Protected Illegal Activities.
The so-called local authorities made the SUMECO team’s arrival in Tenggulun village difficult; they conducted multiple unusual inspections, prevented the team from entering the hamlet in the evening, interrogated the team, and took pictures suspiciously.
“Even entering this area became an uneasy task because people who are covering illegal activities didn’t want us to see the truth. Seeing the footprint of a wild Sumatran elephant gave us so much excitement but at the same time finding out that illegal loggers using elephant’s paths to destroy their habitat was heartbreaking.” Vlada Mohova.
The elephant bones that were still scattered were found 120 meters from the oil palm plantation. Investigations from the team have led to deaths caused by poisoning, as journalistic reports explain more than 45 elephants died due to chemical fertilizer poisoning in Aceh province. Environmental issue including elephants and other wildlife needs everyone’s collaboration to be resolved. One strategy that is thought to have the potential to be a solution in a situation with numerous issues is sustainable ecotourism.
Animal You May See During the Jungle Trekking in Gunung Leuser National Park, Tenggulun, Aceh Tamiang, Sumatra.
The Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus).
Due to the growth of palm oil plantations and forest encroachment (deforestation) in the region, elephants in Tenggulun are the most affected species. Based on our survey on the field, elephants in Gunung Leuser National Park, Tenggulun, have to share their trail with the vehicles which are loaded with logging wood from the park.
The Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae).
Due to the decreasing size of their natural territory, tigers that require a large territory frequently need to be thought of as a catalyst for human conflict with tigers. This is taking place not only in Tenggulun but also in every other human settlement in Sumatra that is located next to a national park.
The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii).
Sumatran orangutans, which always use trees to move around or explore the forest, are also affected and disturbed by the noise from chainsaws and illegal logging in the Gunung Leuser National Park area, the Tenggulun region.
Discover wild elephants and tigers in Tenggulun, Aceh. Save the forest and save the animals. #gunungleusernationalpark #tenggulunecotourism
Ecotourism activities in Tenggulun are essential for empowering local people who want to change their lives from logging to responsible and sustainable tourism. For the locals of Tenggulun, ecotourism is a new experience; it is crucial to pay attention to the basics of raising living conditions and human resources.
Tenggulun is not Tangkahan, Tenggulun is located in the province of Aceh, and Tangkahan is located in North Sumatra. Elephants in Tenggulun are wild elephants. Tenggulun is located 150 km from Bukit Lawang, and 137 km from Tangkahan. Compared to Bukit Lawang and Tangkahan, Tenggulun is so different, it’s not a tourist place, it’s new and young, and its ecotourism was started to support local communities who are willing to change from logging activities to conservation-based ecotourism.
We focus on quality, and you must inform us three days in advance for jungle tours (trekking) to see wild Sumatran elephants in Tenggulun. The activities inside Gunung Leuser National Park through Tenggulun will cover the exploration of biodiversity, especially the endemic species. During the activities, an expert on local wildlife will assist you with species identification. The price includes transportation (7-hour driver from Bukit Lawang), food, a tent, a guide, documentation during the expedition, and expertise on local wildlife (a zoologist). A nocturnal hike is included in all packages.