Sumatran Mahout Communication Forum (FOKMAS)

Definition of Sumatran Mahout Communication Forum (FOKMAS)

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The Sumatran Mahout Communication Forum (FOKMAS) was founded in 2006 by Indonesian Mahouts to improve the communication and competence of Mahouts within the country.

  1. In 2006, in the province of Bengkulu in western Sumatra, the first Sumatra Mahout Workshop was
    held at the Seblat Elephant Conservation Center (ECC).
  2. The 2nd Mahout Workshop was organized by FOKMAS and held in December 2007 at the Saree ECC in Aceh, again with support from the government Conservation agencies (national and provincial) and several NGOs. This time FOKMAS also invited other Mahouts and zoo elephant keepers from all over Indonesia. In addition, several veterinarians and managers from some of these non-governmental elephant facilities attended.
  3. The 3rd FOKMAS Mahout Workshop was held at the Way Kambas ECC in southern Sumatra in March 2009. The Way Kambas ECC is the first camp developed by the Indonesian government and currently houses over 60 elephants. During this Workshop, an IEF Director gave presentations about handling and initial training of captive-born elephant calves. This information was requested by FOKMAS as several of the Sumatra government forest camps had recent elephant births, and the Mahouts had little experience handling very young calves.
  4. The 4th FOKMAS Mahout Workshop was held in North Sumatra province in June 2010. Mahouts
    from different camps gave presentations about utilizing captive elephants for conservation
    activities (i.e. for HEC management, forest patrols, ecotourism as an alternative income source,
    education, etc.) to exchange experiences about these activities, and discuss the effectiveness of
    the different techniques and strategies employed
  5. The 6th Mahout workshop was held from November 26 – 28 at the Elephant Conservation Center in Tangkahan, Sumatra and was attended by approximately 40 Mahouts from around Indonesia
  6. The 7th Indonesian Mahout Workshop hosted by FOKMAS (Indonesian Mahout Communication Forum) was held from February 24-27, 2015, at the Minas government elephant training center located in the province of Riau in Sumatra, Indonesia. Seventy participants attended the workshop and represented most of the Sumatran government elephant camps, Conservation Response Units (CRUs), and other elephant patrol units in Sumatra, as well as several zoos and safari parks from Sumatra, Java, and Bali. The majority of participants were Mahouts , but some camp managers and veterinarians from private facilities also attended.

FOKMAS is a young organization that continues to develop. However, FOKMAS is the only professional Group of Mahouts in Asia and has already demonstrated the value of sharing experiences and building the capacity of this level of staff. This communication not only improves knowledge and skill about captive elephant care and husbandry but also involves Mahouts very effectively in broader issues of elephant Conservation and forest protection.

The Indonesian government now recognizes FOKMAS as a professional Group that can address elephant Conservation and management issues effectively and has been requesting input and expertise from FOKMAS regarding elephant management and Conservation issues in Indonesia.

Reference list Koehl, Dan, (2024). Sumatran Mahout Communication Forum (FOKMAS). Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 20 September 2021 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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