Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Indonesia to Restore Elephant Habitats Amid Declining Population of the Species

Jakarta, – The Indonesian government is planning to restore elephant habitats in Sumatra and Kalimantan, homes of the endangered species. This move is meant as a respond to the reportedly declining number of elephants on the two big islands.

Currently, elephants in Indonesia are mostly found in Sumatra. It has been reported by Kompas that 1,700 elephants currently live in several areas in Sumatra, including in the northern part of Aceh and Lampung in southern Sumatra. The number is below the 2,700 elephants population that was recorded a decade ago.

Quoting a survey by the Indonesian Elephant Population Forum (FKGI), the Kompas article also mentioned about serious elephants’ extinction across 13 habitat locations in Sumatra. This situation was due to the massive opening of new plantations and the creation of more monoculture forest areas on the island. Illegal poaching had also worsen the situation, according to FKGI.

Many of these elephants reside in national parks. The Seblat Natural Park in Bengkulu currently has about 70 elephants. And the elephant population in the 6,000-hectare park may decline due to the planned opening of new coal mines in the area. The Mount Leuser National Park in Aceh is currently home to about 400 elephants. But, a steam power plant project in the area could seriously threaten the existence of those species. Meanwhile, in the Bukit Tigapuluh Ekosistim Park in Jambi, oil palm, rubber, acacia and eucalyptus plantation projects are dispersing elephant flocks.

Conservationists had in the past years aired their worries about a decreasing number of elephants in Indonesia as no serious efforts had been made to prevent the decline from happening. Reportedly, the number of elephants in Sumatra and Kalimantan had continued to shrink over the past 25 years due to various reasons. They included poisoning, natural death and decreasing conserved forest areas because of the opening of new oil palm estates. But, not much is known about elephants in Kalimantan.

Beside Indonesia, 11 other Asian countries also have elephant population. They include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Elephant population is also found in Sub-Saharan Africa.

You may also be interested in this article: A Dangerous Place for Elephants

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