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Story Publication logo November 20, 2022

Once a Trapper, Now a Protector (bahasa Indonesia)

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This story excerpt was translated from bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit IDN Times. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.


The story of animal poachers in TNBG turned coffee farmers


Darlis Lubis, a former poacher in the Mandailingnatal Forest, has now repented and become a coffee farmer. Photo by Prayugo Utomo/IDN Times. Indonesia, 2022.

Darlis still remembers his dark past well
Becoming a poacher, in the forests of Mandailingnatal
Being a hunter turns out to have done more harm than good
The increasingly quiet sound of birdsong made him think
Choosing to repent before it's too late

Mandailing Natal, September 2022

Darlis had just returned home after half a day working in the garden in late September 2022. The middle-aged man immediately stopped by a simple café owned by the Mandailing Jaya Coffee Cooperative (Komanja) in Habincaran Village, Ulu Pungkut District, Mandailingnatal Regency, North Sumatra, at the end of September 2022.

After storing the hoe, Darlis immediately brewed coffee. Tubruk and kretek coffee accompanied him that afternoon. After finishing his kretek, Darlis went to the coffee drying room next to the café. He checks the coffee beans that he dried this morning.

Although he had just been gardening, the 58-year-old man did not seem tired. He can still lift several sacks of coffee beans delivered by other farmers for drying. The beans were scattered on a placemat. Darlis spreads the coffee beans so that they dry evenly.


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Darlis has been involved in Komanja for the last few years. He helps with the coffee production process.

Outside of drying, Darlis sipped his coffee again. He starts talking about his dark past, when he was an active animal hunter.


Saba Godang Lake in Batang Gadis National Park, Mandailingnatal. Image by Mirza Baihaqie/IDN Times. Indonesia, 2022.

Darlis and the Komanja board sorting coffee beans before roasting. Image by Prayugo Utomo/IDN Times. Indonesia, 2022.

Batang Gadis National Park (TNBG) officials install camera traps to monitor biodiversity in protected forests. Image by Prayugo Utomo/IDN Times. Indonesia, 2022.