Conversion in Bukit Tigapuluh causes elephants killed

EoF News / 15 December 2006

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Pekanbaru (EoF News)-- The government is urged to abide by regulations on its Sumatran elephant conservation agreement and protect the endangered species habitat from rampant conversion as human-elephant conflict escalates currently. Two elephants killed nearby Bukit Tigapuluh forest block early this month amid uncertainty of implementation on Ministry of Forestry Decree appointing Riau as Sumatran Elephant Conservation Centre. In other development, the local forestry service and Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (KSDA) evacuated eight wild elephants they caught from Kampar district and relocated them to Tesso Nilo forest. Riau Terkini website said the elephants relocation was covertly conducted by the forestry service and KSDA.

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A male and a female Sumatran elephant (elephas maximus sumatranus) were found dead in horrible condition early December in Lubuk Jambi village, Kuantan Mudik of Kuantan Singingi district. The male elephant’s tusk was removed violently, while the female one partly leaned on trees. Both are believed to be poisoned. 

The location of killings is on small oil palm plantation CV Mylhona, or around 2 km from PT Artelindo, HTI concession holder, that planned to be acquired by Asia Pulp & Paper’s PT Arara Abadi and from PT Tri Bakti Sari Mas, an oil palm plantation company.

The site is also 15 km away from APRIL’s PT Citra Sumber Sejahtera which has rampantly clearcut natural forest in the Bukit Tigapuluh forest block which adjacent to PT Bukit Betabuh Sungai Indah.   

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Responding to escalating human-elephant conflict in the province, WWF Human Elephant Conflict Mitigation leader Nurchalish Fadhli said the implementation on Minister of Forestry Decree No P.54/Menhut-11/2006 on the Establishment of Riau as Sumatran Elephant Consevartion Center is urgently needed.

“Rampant conversion conducted by timber and oil palm companies brings about tension on human-elephant conflict which leads frustrated people to kill the species,” Fadhli said.

He called on the government and corporations to stop conversion in Bukit Tigapuluh National Park forest which regarded as one of two most potential elephant habitats in the province for its lowland forest availability.

The ministry decree includes point of actions that, if implemented properly, can address the root causes of human-elephant conflict in Riau. They include a stop to the conversion of natural forest for any purposes; evaluation of non-forestry uses of natural forest areas; protection of the remaining elephant herds, establishment of corridors with suitable elephant habitat between Tesso Nilo National Park, Rimbang Baling Wildlife Sanctuary and Bukit Tigapuluh National Park; and adoption and immediate implementation of a professional human-elephant conflict mitigation protocol.

--Photo courtesy of Samsuardi/WWF --Map courtesy of WWF GIS Unit