Photo Courtesy: Sofian (Rafflesia arnoldii Late Bloom in the Protected Forest, Bukit Daun, Bengkulu)

Since England colonialism began in Indonesia, Rafflesia preservation has been encouraged by government. 25 years ago counted from today, President Soeharto signed the Keppres No.4 Year of 1993 regarding to Fauna and National Flowers and included Rafflesia on top of the list alongside jasmine and moon orchids. Th

The uniqueness Rafflesia brings out has encouraged community that moves on behalf of species conservation. One of the environmental-based tourism or ecotourism in Bengkulu, has found a way to promote the preservation of this protected species that provides open access to public. Led by Sofian, one of the guide and community member actively engaged on environmental-based tourism, the community has made use of social media platform usage to deliver the preservative message and empower ecotourism which includes Rafflesia arnoldii recognition to publics through various campaigns.

In the middle and northern part of Bengkulu, we could find the two-different species of Rafflesia, Rafflesia arnoldii and Rafflesia gadutensis. To enjoy the view of Rafflesia in this protected forest, we could use common transportation. Public voluntarily guard and protect the newly-bloomed Rafflesia but several points are missing out of any surveillance toward protecting this species. Hence, government attention to attract the tourism potency, mainly from infrastructure sector has to be prioritized.

Even though the movement toward preservation are drawing public attention, the education persisting on public awareness over endangered and protected species must be rebuilt. Rafflesia scientist from University of Bengkulu, Agus Susatya emphasized that the Rafflesia habitat is in the moderately good condition as marked by the invasion of species to many new territories or growth sites. But, the main concern is public’s knowledge in taking care the protected site. Tourism must be responsible in building public awareness by providing some guideline over how they should treat and act toward the protected species in a way that would do no harm environmentally.

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