Pantai Cemara, located in Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, is known as one of the most important wetland for migratory waterbirds, including the globally endangered Nordmann’s Greenshank Tringa guttifer, Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis, Vulnerable Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes and the Near threatened Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus. The Far Eastern Curlew, together with many other shorebirds are declining in numbers along the flyway. Hence, the conservation management of Pantai Cemara is important for the migratory shorebirds. In 2019, Jambi Governor declared Pantai Cemara as an Essential Ecosystem Area (KEE initiative) to support wildlife habitats, especially for the conservation of migratory waterbirds. Indonesia Wildlife Ecology Foundation (EKSAI) is a newly formed NGO dedicated to shorebird conservation. They carried out a waterbird survey at Pantai Cemara from 19th to 30th November 2019, led by Iwan Febrianto and with financial support from the ASEAN Flyway Network (AFN) project, EAAFP Small Grants for Working Groups and Task Forces under the Far Eastern Curlew Task Force, and Wader Quest. More than 15,000 birds were recorded during the survey, including 36 individual Far Eastern Curlew, 28 Nordmann’s Greenshanks and 5000 Great Knot.
Around 800 people live in the nearby village, Sungai Cemara, surviving mainly on fishing and agriculture. It is crucial for the conservation of Pantai Cemara to take their livelihood improvement into consideration. A workshop was held in Jambi on 5 December 2019 to discuss the management and planning of Pantai Cemara with relevant government agencies, universities, NGOs and the local community. Mr. Taupiq Bukhari, Director of Provincial Forestry Department of Jambi and Mr. Rahmad Saleh, Director of Provincial Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Jambi attended the meeting and asked participants to provide comments and suggestions for the conservation initiative. This was followed by a field trip on 6-8 December to better understand the site condition. The workshop was organized by the Jambi Provincial Agencies of Conservation of Natural Resources and EKSAI Foundation. Ecotourism opportunities to support the local community by improving their income and simultaneously preserving the ecosystem were discussed. David Li from Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Ragil Satriyo Gumilang from Wetland International – Indonesia Program were invited to share their experiences on case studies of wetland management.
The workshop was well received with active involvement from all parties. It was suggested that the site should be nominated as an East Asian-Australasian Flyway Site Network and Ramsar site. The local community has been trained by EKSAI for the development of the ecotourism programs. The transport and accommodation can be improved in the future by developing their roads, boats and homestay facilities to enhance these programs.
A local community youth group had been set up by EKSAI to monitor the migratory birds and their habitat fortnightly from January 2020. We thank Mr. David Li for his personal donation of SGD 500 to kick start this program. This initiative can empower the locals of Sungai Cemara Village, Jambi, to be guardians and educators to monitor and protect the migratory waterbirds of Pantai Cemara.
Report by Ragil Rihadini, EKSAI Foundation, Indonesia, firstname.lastname@example.org