Indonesia: Injured Sumatran elephant rescued, fitted with tracker

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani
The Jakarta Post 1 Dec 18;

An injured elephant was found in Panca village, Aceh Besar, Aceh, on Thursday, after she had been roaming around plantations in the area for days.

Residents reported sighting the female, which had injuries to her tail and the left side of her chest, to the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Aceh). The agency sent a team to start searching for the elephant on Wednesday night and she was located on Thursday.

The chairman of BKSDA Aceh, Sapto Adji Prabowo, and his team conducted surgery on the elephant on the same day. The team had to amputate the tail as the injury and resulting infection was too severe to save it.

“The surgery ran smoothly and the elephant has been given antibiotics and vitamins,” Sapto said in a written statement.

The BKSDA put a GPS tracker collar on the elephant so that the agency would be able to monitor her location after release. The tracker is also expected to provide information about other elephants in the area to discover the migration patterns of the group. The information could be used as an early warning system to anticipate and resolve conflicts between the animals and humans.

Sapto said the BKSDA has placed GPS trackers on six elephants in Aceh, four of which are still active and are contributing significant information to aid in animal conservation.

The government estimates only about 500 Sumatran elephants remain in Aceh. They are hunted by poachers for their tusks.