Indonesia: Authorities urged to investigate killing of tame elephant in East Aceh

Hotli Simanjuntak The Jakarta Post 11 Jun 18;

Authorities in Aceh have been urged to immediately complete their investigation into the killing of a tame elephant in East Aceh, Aceh, and take legal measures against illegal ivory trade.

“I hope the police can complete their investigation into this case so it will never again happen to other elephants,” said East Aceh resident Muhammad Adam on Sunday.

Bunta, a 27-year-old male elephant from Conservation Response Unit (CRU) Serbajadi in Bunin village, Serbajadi district, East Aceh regency, Aceh, was found dead on Sunday. One of its tusks had been removed.

Adam said the elephants at CRU Serbajadi helped to prevent conflicts between local residents and wild elephants entering their land.

“This is really upsetting and cannot be tolerated. We [the local residents] have suffered great losses from the elephant’s death because the number of tame elephants that can help prevent conflicts with wild elephants has continued to decline,” said Adam.

Aceh Environment and Natural Forests Foundation (HAKA) secretary Badrul Irfan said the killing of the tame elephant was a serious problem that must be resolved immediately.

“Law enforcers must immediately investigate this problem. Maximum legal sanctions must be imposed against them,” said Badrul, who heads the Leuser elephant patrol team in Aras Napal, Besitang, North Sumatra.

“Bunta’s death is a great loss. I ordered for the heightened monitoring of all CRUs and the Saree elephant conservation center in Aceh Besar regency,” Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency head Sapto Aji said. (ebf)

Elephant killed for ivory in East Aceh
Hotli Simanjuntak The Jakarta Post 11 Jun 18;

A male elephant was found dead from poisoning in East Aceh, Aceh, on Sunday. One of its tusks had been removed.

Bunta, 27, was part of the Conservation Response Unit (CRU) elephant team, which wards off wild elephants trying to enter the area. Bunta and three other elephants had been stationed at CRU Serbajadi in Bunin village, Serbajadi district, East Aceh, Aceh, since January 2016.

The team was tasked with preventing animal-human conflicts in the area. Bunta was the main police elephant at CRU Serbajadi, which was visited by Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio in March 2016.

Based on information provided by the CRU Serbajadi team on Sunday, Bunta was found dead when a mahout went to relocate him from a forest located 500 meters from the CRU base camp to another area at 8 a.m. local time.

He saw Bunta lying on the ground dead with one of his tusks missing. The mahout reported the incident to the Serbajadi Police, who forwarded the report to the East Aceh Police.

East Aceh Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Wahyu Kuncoro said it appeared that the elephant had eaten poison-laced bananas and mangoes. "We are waiting for the […] the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency's veterinarian team to reveal cause of death." (ebf)