Indonesia: Elephant population continues to shrink in Aceh 11 Jan 16;

The population of Sumatran elephants in Aceh has been decreasing amid the increasing conversion of forest areas into plantations and illegal logging, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia has announced.

The Sumatran elephant population in Aceh has shrank by almost 50 percent in the past 25 years, says Aceh-based WWF Indonesia communication staff member Chik Rini recently as quoted by Antara news agency.

Chik said there were previously more than 1,000 of the animals in the region. Their numbers started to decrease in the 1990s and currently there are only some 500 elephants left.

“A great amount of forested area in Aceh has been converted into oil palm plantations, resulting in a smaller elephant population," said Chik, adding that the animal had been unable to survive due to the disappearance of migration trails.

“We have to conserve nature and not disturb the elephants' migration trails. If we are able to take care of each other, there won't be any conflict between elephants and humans," Chik stated.

She also called on the government to restrict the issuance of forest-exploitation permits for plantations to maintain the wildlife population. (nov/kes)(+)

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