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Residents Likely Killed Elephant in Aceh Jaya  Tapol
 May 02, 2012 04:57 PDT 

From Joyo


The Jakarta Post
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Residents Likely Killed Elephant in Aceh Jaya

Hotli Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A wild elephant suffered for several hours before it died after it was
reportedly poisoned on a palm oil plantation in Krueng Layeun village,
Aceh Jaya, Aceh, on Monday, a witness says.

“We watched the elephant staggering as it walked before it collapsed,”
Muktar, a forest ranger, said.

Aceh Conservation Response Unit (CRU) coordinator Fendra said that
local residents were likely to blame for the death.

“Residents did not report the presence of the dead elephant when it
was destroying their farms.
We believe the presence of the elephant was never reported because
residents wanted to kill it
themselves.”

The female elephant, estimated to be 20 years old, left behind a
3-year-old calf, which was found near its mother’s carcass. “The calf
was saddened by its mother’s death. It often approached its dead
mother trying to wake her up,” Muktar said.

The elephant was found dead on a privately owned oil palm plantation
near a protected forest and a path frequently used by elephants.

“The area is apparently known as a wild elephant path in Aceh Jaya.
Consequently, the elephants often rummage through residents’ farms,”
said Muktar.

“As far as I know, around 40 wild elephants can be found in Aceh Jaya.
They are always rummaging around the area to look for food. At times,
the elephants converge on residents’ farms, as their habitats have
been converted into farms,” Muktar said.

The Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA), which sponsors the
CRU, has conducted an autopsy and several veterinarians have taken
samples, according to Fendra.

“The autopsy results will be sent to the lab in Medan to make sure of
the cause of death.”

Elephant poisonings were rare, Fendra said. Residents whose farms have
been damaged by elephants usually contacted the CRU to remove the
elephants using rangers riding domesticated elephants.

Rangers often received reports of elephants injured by traps laid by
local residents in Aceh Jaya, Fendra said, but lacked evidence to file
reports with the police.

The CRU program is aimed at minimizing conflicts between wild
elephants and humans that have increased due to the rapid pace of
deforestation and forest conversions to make way for oil palm
plantations.

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