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