Banda Aceh – Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universitas Syiah Kuala (FVM USK) Banda Aceh held a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) to discuss programs to empower breeders and vaccinate livestock to prevent the risk of zoonotic disease transmission and support wildlife conservation in the Leuser Landscape.

The FGD event, which involved various parties including government agencies, NGOs, and academics, took place at The Pade Hotel Banda Aceh, Monday (24/7/2023).

The speakers in this event were Head of the Aceh BKSDA Gunawan Alza, Head of the Animal and Veterinary Health Division of the Aceh Livestock Service, Ruhaty, Dean of the USK FKH Drh Teuku Reza Ferasyi, Head of PKSDA DLHK Aceh M. Daud and WCS Program Manager for Aceh and North Sumatra, Ina Nisrina.

Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Drh. Teuku Reza Ferasyi, said the purpose of this activity was to equalize perceptions regarding the implementation of farmer empowerment and vaccination programs.

Both aim to prevent disease transmission that may occur from interactions between humans, livestock, and wild animals in the Leuser Landscape.

“Changes in forest cover and function, especially in forest edge areas, cause a greater risk of pathogen run-off between wild animals, livestock and humans,” he explained.

The program will focus on four areas, namely South Aceh, Southeast Aceh, Subulussalam and Aceh Singkil. This program is a collaboration between FKH USK and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Forum Koservasi Leuser (FKL) which is a partner of the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) and the Gunung Leuser National Park Center (BBTNGL).

“From this activity we hope to get the latest information about the lifestyle of the livestock community in the four areas, especially those directly adjacent to protected forest areas or the Leuser Landscape,” said Dr. Teuku Reza.

Efforts are needed to help communities on the outskirts of the forest understand livestock health management and disease control, as well as protecting wild animals.

Furthermore, Dr. Teuku Reza conveyed plans to implement vaccination for livestock in 2024. This year, the focus is on designing activity designs and selecting program locations. After that, 200 breeders will receive assistance and training, and as many as 2,000 livestock will be vaccinated.

Although there have been no reports of cases of disease spreading from wild animals to livestock, the FVM USK as an academic institution has conducted research to identify potential risks of disease transmission from wild animals to livestock.

“This activity is expected to prevent the risk of zoonotic disease transmission and improve the standard of living of people who live on the edge of the Leuser ecosystem,” he explained.

WCS Program Manager for Aceh and North Sumatra, Ina Nisrina, explained that the selection of the four areas was based on an analysis of data collected regarding negative interaction conditions between humans and tigers from 2012 to 2022.

“The data is a reference for seeing trends and the distribution of conflicts in various regions. This area is also an important area for the sustainability of the conservation of Gunung Leuser National Park and its buffer zones,” said Ina.

In addition to vaccination, this program will also provide assistance to the farming community and empower them in developing efforts to mitigate negative interactions with tigers.

“The program prioritizes high-risk areas where livestock can be preyed upon by tigers, we also introduce other mitigation approaches, for example through the adoption of anti-tiger attack cages,” he added.

Ina emphasized that the priority of this program is the conservation of the Sumatran tiger, with this integrated approach also considering the potential for conflict with other animals.

This program is part of a collaboration between WCS and the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) and the Gunung Leuser National Park Authority.

Ina hopes that the USK Faculty of Veterinary Medicine as the front-liner can support good animal husbandry practices in the future in supporting wildlife conservation in Aceh.

“WCS hopes that all parties will be actively involved in efforts to keep the Sumatran tiger safe in its habitat and that the community can also prosper,” he said. (Cut Nauval)

Source : WASPADA (