Approaching Market Sellers in Tomohon

The illegal wildlife trade for bushmeat consumption is one of the biggest threats to the world’s biodiversity including Macaca nigra (yaki). Multiple challenges remain in the consumption of endangered species in local markets, including social norms of animal consumption, lack of awareness of issues, unclear regulations, and insufficient law enforcement. Selamatkan Yaki has developed a holistic strategy to tackle these issues, which emerged as the result of a key multi-stakeholder meeting we facilitated in January 2020.

Aimed to reach a total target of 10 big markets in North Sulawesi, we carefully structure the engagement meetings from building interest and triggering the sense of pride of large numbers of unique wildlife in North Sulawesi and the importance of their role in the ecosystem, to sharing the threats they are facing to build a collective demand and an urge to get involved in protecting it. By the end of the meetings, the sellers sign a declaration, and publicly recognized to be certified for not selling wildlife as part of the efforts in wildlife conservation. First market to start with is Tomohon traditional market!

As a strategic first step, a Roundtable discussion was initiated in November 5th 2020. The aim of this meeting was to specifically address the role of the traditional markets in preserving various animals. As we are aware, these markets in Minahasa remain a place for buying and selling bushmeat, a persistent threat to the species and other endangered wildlife. Local and national elections were happening in Tomohon at the time, raising the Tomohon market as the focus of attention because the market has been known for its “extreme market” stigma due to the sale of its diverse bushmeat and the attractions on display. This is addressed through a long-time approach by Selamatkan Yaki, which is seeing the shift of association and identity away from an identity of consumption of wildlife to one on pride.

The discussion was attended by the Tomohon city government, related agencies from the North Sulawesi Government, business actors, media, observers, and practitioners. Together they produced several specific and detailed recommendations both in the short and long term. All of them agreed to move together to do their respective parts so that the extreme stigma against the Tomohon market could return to being a traditional market that is environmentally friendly and even more proud of North Sulawesi’s unique wildlife. Tomohon Market is famous and can be a role model to others, so there will be a movement of change to other markets in North Sulawesi. Together we care about the condition of wildlife and to promote the new campaign message of change “Bekeng Sulut Bannga” (“Make North Sulawesi Proud”) along with branding in a broad campaign across all the markets.

Visit to meat section stalls in Tomohon traditional market

After several intensive meetings with traders in their stalls, an agreement was obtained to fully support the efforts to bring Tomohon Beriman Market as a green market to not sell endangered and protected species. Agreeing to let go of existing stigma, namely Tomohon Market as an “Extreme Market” and together fostering changing views and feelings of pride the traders were active and supporting with their involvement in the efforts of the campaign: Bekeng Sulut Bangga; Bangga nyanda bajual deng konsumsi satwa liar terancam dan dilindungi (Make North Sulawesi Proud; Proud not to sell and eat the meat of endangered and protected wildlife). In addition to being attended by 11 bushmeat traders, this activity was attended by Assistant 2 of Tomohon government, Ir Enos Pontororing and representatives from the North Sulawesi Regional Police, Head of the North Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA), representatives from related agencies in the Tomohon City Government such as the Health Office , Department of Industry and Trade, Office of Tourism, Office of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry of Tomohon City, the Association of Indonesian Tour Guides (HPI) North Sulawesi, Ibu Khouni Lomban Rawang as Yaki Ambassador Indonesia, staff of the Market Regional Companies and 3 local media. The event was heralded by all as very significant, with the permanent installation of the signboard in the meat section as a commitment of the sellers to take action in the Wildlife Trade Mitigation Strategy.

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