#SeastainableStories – Rafid Shidqi, Thresher Shark Project Indonesia
#SeastainableStories is a series Seastainable will be launching to feature amazing ocean conservationists and advocates! We believe that everyone can play a part in contributing to healthier and happier oceans.
For our third week of sharing #SeastainableStories, we are featuring Seastainable Team’s seabling through SEA Camp, Rafid Shidqi. He is the Co-founder and Project Leader of the Thresher Shark Project Indonesia (TSPI). During the 3rd quarter, Rafid’s organization got a Seastainable Grant worth $ 1,305 SGD to bridge conservation and community livelihoods for mutual benefits. TSPI has opened new doors for the different stakeholders to work together on this common goal.
At present, Rafid is taking up his Master of Science Degree in Coastal Science and Policy at the University of California Santa Cruz. Read on to know more about his works and views on conservation!
What sparked your interest in conservation?
My work in conservation started since my internship opportunity with Lamakera Project in 2016 when I helped in work to transition the biggest manta hunter into alternative sustainable livelihoods. I was inspired by the way people work on the ground in solving the livelihood conflicts between poor communities as well as achieving the conservation of endangered species. For most people in Indonesia, there are so many communities that depend on endangered marine animals, yet have little to no capacity to shift away - this threatened their livelihood security and the population of the animals itself. This has become my motivation to work in conservation that both works for the species and for the communities that depend on it.
What do you think is important in pursuing conservation?
I believe in consistency and resilience in working in the conservation field. This type of work can be very draining, especially when you have to view the heartbreaking scenes every time in the field such as dead sharks, dead manta rays, bombed coral reefs, etc. Oftentimes at the stage of your work, you feel very desperate and feel small that your work would not give any significant impacts. And that, drawback, contemplate and being able to regain the motivations of work is important to persist and keep going.
What/Who inspired you to start your organization?
My internship program at Lamakera has inspired me to continue my work at Lamakera.
What/Who inspired you to start your project?
My previous working supervisors, Sarah Lewis and Mark Erdmann, are the reason why I am so positive to choose this path of work.
How did you meet the members of your team?
We met as co-workers during our internship at East Nusa Tenggara.
Give us a fun fact about yourself!
I have played all pokemon games every season (I could memorize all species of pokemon and their special abilities in the game!)
What is your advice to people who want to pursue a career in conservation, but may not have the ‘conservation’ e.g. science/research related background?
Choose conservation work that keeps you motivated, talk to people, network, stay motivated and persists in the work that you do.
A piece of advice you would like to give to our readers about the future of our planet?
There are still so much worth fighting for. So many people are working tirelessly on the ground, who may not have social media or anything to share about how our state in conservation moving forward. Just don't stop at doing what you believe in, eventually, the hard work will pay off!
What are the next steps that you want to take to save our ocean?
I would like to continue my work for the thresher shark project. Though they keep declining, I am inspired by the people at my back who keeps pushing and motivating me to enlarge my impact in conservation.