Seven elephants killed with poison within two months

EoF News / 17 June 2009

PEKANBARU (EoF News)-- At least seven Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) were killed within recent two months in Riau province which believed as the severest conflict erupted this year as all of them were poisoned.

Four wild elephants and three trained elephants were died after being poisoned in separate places in Riau between May and June 2009. Elephant tusks were removed from the carcasses, as some of them seized by the police, but the rest were gone.

The latest killing occurred in pulpwood concession of PT Arara Abadi, an associated company of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) /Sinar Mas Group,  as a trained male elephant called Tong Lee (30 years old) was found dead last week in the concession located in Perawang, Siak district. 

It is the second elephant died under management of the APP associated company, following 23 December 2008’s incident, an elephant conservationist said. Tong Lee is  one of eight elephants that trained by PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper (IKPP), a subsidiary of APP/SMG, and a sister company of PT Arara Abadi.

The first incident of seven elephants killed occurred on 5 May when two trained mammals  that managed by the Elephant Training Center (PLG) of Government Agency BBKSDA Riau found dead in Pekanbaru’s Forest Park of Sultan Syarif Qasim, media reports said.

On 27 May, four elephants were killed in Tesso Nilo forest block, in concession of PT Rimba Peranap Indah (RPI), an associated company to Asian Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL).

The location of incident bordered to concession of the state-run palm oil plantation company PTPN V which leave its management to local cooperatives, Koperasi Pelangi Siampu Pesikaian. There is no report on conflict preceding the killing using pineapple fruit.

Three dead elephants in Tesso Nilo were found on 28 May and another one on 3 June where the distance of the carcasses found within 2 kilometers, said Syamsuardi, coordinator of Flying Squad, an elephant training program run by WWF-Indonesia in Riau province.

Head of  Natural Resources Conservancy Agency region 1 of Riau Province (BKSDA),  Edi Susanto said that the four dead elephants were poisoned, Antara News Agency reported last week (11/6/2009).

“The dead elephants were purposely poisoned using organophosphate pesticide which usually used to kill animals such as boars,” Edi Susanto said.

The official said that BKSDA urged the police to nab the culprits of the wildlife killings due to the incident in Tesso Nilo is extraordinary one. He suspected that conflict between human and elephant as motive behind the killings.

Meanwhile, the police still investigate the killing of seven elephants, Syamsuardi said. He urged the police to probe the three incidents thoroughly and bring the perpetrators to justice.