Alee Salee, Niyom Prai Group, Ton Kloy Village
Born in a nearby village, Alee moved to Ton Kloy as a young man, and, for many years, supported his family by hunting wild animals. The forests surrounding Ton Kloy are renowned for rare plants, a great diversity of butterflies, and abundant wildlife. Over time, Alee began to understand that it was important “to protect the forest and keep wildlife in this area for people to see in the future.”
While keeping a clear eye on the future, Alee is also addressing the pressing conservation problems of today. Along with other former hunters from Ton Kloy, Alee visits surrounding villages, and asks hunters to refrain from shooting the deer, gaur, serow, and other wildlife that come to Ton Kloy’s fruit orchards for food and water. Alee reports that his efforts have been successful in reducing illegal wildlife hunting; there are no longer any hunters in his village and five hunters from nearby villages have stopped poaching.
When his village formed the “Niyom Prai” conservation group in 2007, Alee was among the first to join. From the onset, the group has worked to develop the area’s ecotourism potential with a focus on jungle hikes, including a spectacular waterfall and an historical tin mine. The Tourism Club also engages in community service activities including trail maintenance, road side clearance, and rubbish removal.
“By successfully preventing hunting and forest encroachment in our village, we can then expand to other villages when they have seen the result,” Alee concludes, “going to hunt a deer we can feed only five or six persons, but if we keep a deer everyone can come and see it for a long time.”