Ledjie Taq - Chief of the Wehea Dayak Tribe, Berau, East Kalimantan
Nature Hero YKAN
Nature Hero Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara
In 2004, the Wehea Dayak community feared that their forest would be lost forever. In response to this threat, the community united and declared the Wehea Forest a “local protected forest”. The man leading this conservation effort is Ledjie Taq, the Chief of the Dayak Wehea tribe in East Kalimantan. Ledjie Taq garnered multilateral support from the local Dayak community, local government and private sector attended this council meeting and agreed to support the declaration of the 38,000 hectares of abandoned timber concessions as 'protected land' under the traditional Wehea Dayak 'customary' laws. Ledjie Taq and the Wehea Dayak community want to protect the Wehea Forest because of its importance as a source of water and medicinal plants, as well as non-timber forest products. In addition, Ledjie Taq knows that protecting the Wehea Forest is very important to help protect the Wehea Dayak culture. Therefore, without a doubt if the forest around Wehea is lost, important traditions and ceremonies will also be lost. Because the Wehea Forest is within the historical territory of the Wehea Dayak.
To protect the protected forest from illegal activities with traditional Wehea Dayak practices, Petkuq Mehuey (PM) or forest ranger was initiated. By incorporating traditional practices into forest conservation programs, the Wehea Dayak tribe can also preserve local traditions and culture. PM is a group of young people from a local community who are protecting the forest. They spend up to three months in the forest patrolling the border for illegal loggers, collecting data on the flora and fauna found in the Wehea Forest, and helping implement new programs and initiatives.
In recognition of his conservation efforts, he was awarded the Bintang Jasa Pratama medal in 2009. In addition, Ledjie Taq won the Kalpataru Environmental Rescue Award, the highest environmental award in Indonesia.