In this photo taken on May 10, 2013 two children look at a dead Sumatran elephant that was killed by electrocution the day before at Blang Gajah Mate village, in Pidie, Aceh. (AFP Photo/Zian Mustaqin)
By Nurdin Hasan Jakarta Globe July 26
Banda Aceh. Another elephant has been found dead in Aceh, the second this month, with reports from local people indicating that the elephant’s tusks have been removed.
“Conflicts between elephants and humans often happen in Blang Tualang and the neighboring village of Pante Labu,” Rabono Wiranata, the head of non-governmental organization Fakta said on Friday. “Some villagers or hunters may have placed poison on the track often used by elephants.”
The adult male elephant was found on Thursday inside an oil palm plantation run by state-owned PTPN I in Blang Tualang village, East Aceh.
Rabono said the elephant was understood to have died four days ago.
He added that local residents had repeatedly complained about a pack of elephants “trespassing” on their plantations and destroying plants, but there had been no serious response from the local authorities.
The head of Aceh’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Amon Zamora, said he received a report of the death on Thursday night. A team was dispatched to the area on Friday morning.
“But [the team] haven’t returned, so I don’t know yet as to what caused the elephant’s death,” Amon told the Jakarta Globe. “I’ve told the team to report the case to police if the tusks were gone. If they were gone, we would strongly suspect that it’s been murdered.”
The finding came just two weeks after a 30-year-old male elephant was found dead in Ranto Sabon village in the Aceh Jaya district, Its tusks had been severed.
Aceh Jaya Forest Ranger commander Armidi said the elephant died after it was caught in a sharp metal trap placed on a big tree log.
Police and BKSDA Aceh have not been able to find the perpetrators.
The latest finding brought the number of elephant deaths in Aceh to four over the past three months.
On May 9, a 10-year-old male elephant was found dead due to electrocution in Bangkeh village in the Pidie district.
On June 23, a two-year-old elephant died after having been looked after for two months by residents of Blang Pante village in the North Aceh district. The villagers took care of the elephant cub after it was left behind by its pack in a local plantation.
Demand for ivory has soared in recent years, primarily due to increased demand from China, where it is highly valued for its use in crafting ornaments. Elephant tusks sell for several hundred dollars per kilogram.
A resident (R) looks at the carcass of a male Sumatran elephant, its head and trunks mutilated and ivory tusks missing, in Aceh Jaya district on Indonesia’s Sumatra island. According to Natural Resources Conservation Agency the elephant was killed by a booby trap set up by unidentified people.
In the month of May, three elephants were found dead in Tesso Nilo National Park, south of Aceh. Fewer than 3,000 endangered Sumatran elephants remain in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Rampant expansion of palm oil, paper plantations, and mines, has destroyed nearly 70 percent of the Sumatran elephant’s forest habitat over 25 years, conservationist says, and the animals remain a target of poaching.
Proposal to include more countries in a pledge not to sell ivory stockpiles before 2016 seen as legally flawed. Efforts to curb the sale of ivory and rhino horns were voted down on Thursday at an international wildlife summit in Bangkok.
At the 178-nation Convention in Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) meeting, Burkina Faso and Kenya cited the “merciless slaughter of elephants” in their attempt to extend to a wider group of nations a pledge from some countries not to sell ivory stockpiles before 2016. But the proposal was seen as legally flawed by many delegates and failed to get support.
But Tom Milliken, head of the elephant and rhino team at wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, , said he was more optimistic than ever that tough action would still be taken. “This time people are listening because everything is pointing in the same direction: poaching is up to a record high, as is illegal ivory trading and elephants seem to be down,” he said. About 25,000 elephants were killed by poachers in 2012.
At the Cites talks, 19 nations face bans on all wildlife trade unless they crack down on the poaching, smuggling or sale of illegal ivory. The summit is also considering compulsory forensic testing of seized tusks, so the criminal chain can be traced and compulsory reporting of stockpiles of ivory, to prevent corruption or thefts.
Separately, Kenya attempted to prevent the export of trophy-hunted rhino horns from South Africa. Vietnamese and east European gangs use the practice as a cover to feed the illegal Vietnamese market with the 1,000 horns a year it is demanding. But Milliken said that South Africa had already put an end to the “pseudo-hunting”. There are 20,000 white rhinos at present, he said, and despite more than 600 being poached in 2012, the population is rising.
Milliken said: “It is probably a good idea to keep these [trophy-hunting] incentives for private wildlife reserve owners at a time when they are having to spend more on protection from poachers.” He said, in contrast, Vietnam was doing extremely little to tackle rhino sales.
The Cites meeting did, however, unanimously raise the protection of the west African manatee to the highest level, overriding advice from officials that “scant” scientific data did not support the move.
The slow-moving creature, which can measure up to 4.5m long and weigh 350kg, is found in the coastal lagoons and rivers of 21 states, and can reach as far inland as Mali, Niger and Chad.
Illegal kills can raise $4,500 per animal and less than 10,000 remain. They are hunted for meat and oil, killed as by bycatch by fishermen and also suffer as their habitat is destroyed by mangrove harvesting, pollution and dams. The Cites conference also bid farewell to a series of extinct animals by removing them from protection lists, including Australia’s dusky flying fox, crescent nail-tail wallaby, buff-nosed rat-kangaroo and the pig-footed- and rabbit-eared bandicoots.
- Cites: bid to curb sale of ivory and rhino horn voted down (guardian.co.uk)
- The perfect poacher’s storm threatening endangered species (itv.com)
- After Failure of Legal Ivory, Trade in Rhino Horn Would Be a Disaster (bushwarriors.org)
- WWF Reaction to Thai Prime Minister Announcement on Ivory Trade (prweb.com)
- Leonardo DiCaprio Joins WWF to Launch “Hands Off My Parts” Initiative to Stop Wildlife Crime (prweb.com)
- WWF names ‘demand countries’ for ivory and rhino horn (itv.com)
- Shoots, kills and trades in animal parts (thehindu.com)
- ‘Extinction crisis’ focus for CITES (bbc.co.uk)
Monday, 06 August, 2012 | 17:39 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jambi Due to the shrinking of the forest as a habitat for Sumatran elephants, especially in forest areas Spintun, District Pauh, Sarolangun regency, Jambi, the animals that once numbered more than 50 head, now stands at only about 14.
“Based on our research in recent months in Sarolangun forest, the elephant population is becoming increasingly extinct because their habitat is being cleared on a large scale to make way for plantations,” said Ferry Irawan, Chairman of the Jambi Green Association, Monday, July 30, 2012.
According to Ferry, 10,500 hectare of production forest, which is the habitat of elephants, is being cleared by PT ALN to be turned into a natural rubber plantation industry. The elephants entered the plantation areas, sparking a conflict with the surrounding villagers.
The region is part of a hutan adat (traditional forest) belonging to the Anak Dalam Bathin Sembilan tribe, Dusun III Spintun, which is located in the industrial forest concession held by PT Alam Lestari Nusantara (Limited Company Consortium of State Plantation Jambi VI), and several other major plantation companies.
Syafrizal alias Acong, lead researcher of elephants in this area, states there is proof that the elephants are moving. The survey used a method of observing excretions and footprints on May 25. Their habitat is shrinking and this can result in a confrontation with the community.
“We hope that existing concessions are stopped, because the timber in the remaining forest is still quite tight (I’m sorry, I have no idea what the original means-laura), because the distance between the herd of elephants and PT ALN’s concession is only about 1.2 kilometers,” he said.
Joko Susilo, Head of Sarolangun District Forestry Office, denied that the concession area of PT ALN was an elephant habitat. “That’s not true. Based on his office’s observation, PT ALN’s area is used by elephants only to cross,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Head of Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Trisiswo dismissed the results of the research conducted by the Perkumpulan HIjau team. “Not true, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said.
Trisiswo claimed that he had earlier conducted a research for four months, starting October 2011. In the study on the border between Jambi and South Sumatra, only ten elephants were found.
“We also have plans to ask the companies operating in the region to allocate a piece of their land to serve as a habitat for elephants,” he said. SYAIPUL BAKHORI