Indonesia: Two elephants die of suspected poisoning in Bengkulu

Antara 29 Jul 11;

Bengkulu, Sumatra (ANTARA News) - The bones of two wild elephants which had died of suspected poisoning, were found in a plantation a near an elephant training center in Seblat, North Bengkulu District, recently.

They seemed to have eaten fertilizer like what had happened to four elephants which had been found dead previously, Amon Zamora, the head of the Bengkulu Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) said here on Friday.

Eight elephants had been found dead in Bengkulu over the past two years. Amon Zamora suspected that the animals had died after eating fertilizers provided by unknown persons.

He said the increasing number of dead elephants had something to do with efforts to downgrade the status of the elephant training center (PLG) into an other purpose area (APL).

Many parties wanted to take of the PLG Bengkulu area because the area is rich of coal reserves, he explained.

There are now around 150 elephants inside the 6,800-ha PLG area.

"We are trying to arrest those poisoning the wild elephants by involving various parties including the community and the military," he said.

Supartono, also of the BKSDA said his office has suspected those behind the poisoning of the elephants, but it will need further investigation because the chain also involved local community.

BKSDA would tighten security around the PLG area, he said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH

Bengkulu authorities urged to probe elephant deaths
Antara 6 Aug 11;

Bengkulu, Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Environmental NGO ProFauna has urged Bengkulu authorities to probe the deaths of eight Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus) around the Seblat Elephant Conservation Center (PKG), north Bengkulu.

"We urge the law enforcers to investigate the eight elephant deaths because it is strongly believed that they died not because of natural causes but because they were killed deliberately by poisoning and hunting," ProFauna Bengkulu Representative Radius Nursidi said here on Friday.

The deaths of the eight elephants during January-July 2011 demonstrated that the Bengkulu Natural Conservation Agency (BKSDA) had not optimally protected Sumatran elephants, according to ProFauna.

"We suspect that there is a systematic effort by certain parties to wipe out elephants from the Seblat PKG," he said.

A number of parties had been wanting to convert the forest area into mining and plantation areas.

"By killing the wild elephants around the PKG area, it will be easier for certain parties to use the forest area," he said.

None of the elephant deaths that were reported to the authorities has been dealt with successfully so far and so there was no deterrent factor, he said.

He hoped the local authorities would soon conduct a thorouhg investigation into the elephant deaths.

According to ProFauna data, there have been 17 elephant deaths since 2004 in areas around the Seblat PKG.

In addition to elephants, the Seblat PKG also shelters Sumatran tigers (Phantera tigris Sumatrae) and Siamang gibbon (Symphalangus syndactylus).

ProFauna suggests that the status of the area be upgraded to a wildlife sanctuary in order to protect and preserve the animals in the forest area.

Conflicts between Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) and humans have increased over the past few years claiming lives among both humans and elephants but mostly among the giant animals.


Editor: Suryanto