Mitigation of elephants’ conflicts protocol to be applied in Riau soon
lundi 27 mars 2006
The Directorate General for Forest and Nature Conservation (PHPA) and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) have agreed to implement the Protocol on Mitigation of Elephants Conflicts as a basis for the resolution of conflicts between elephants and humans that have been occurring at increasing frequency in Riau province over the past few months.
"It is important to implement the protocol soon so that urgent cases can be settled," director of bio-diversity conservation at the PHPA Adi Susmianto said on Monday (3/6).
He said Riau had been preparing itslef to implement the protocol for a long time and it would, among others, cover the strategy to reduce conflicts, the handling of incidents that might harm the elephants and developing a mechanism to compensate people who had been harmed or whohad incurred maerial loss by elephants.
"With the implementation of the protocol soon, we hope conflicts can be minimized, people and elephants can be prevented from losing their life, and people from suffering material losses." he said.
In the past two weeks, there were two conflicts beteen humans and elephants.
In the first case, six elephants were found dead in a palm oil plantation in what was once the Mahato forst on the border between Riau and North Sumatra. The animlas had allegedly been poisoned.
The second case involved 17 elephants that reportedly ravaged a human resettlement in Balai Raja village, Duri, Bengkalis district, Riau.
Sources said the two incidents were caused by the conversion of the Libo Block forest, one of the important habitats of elephants, into a resettlement, plantation and industrial forest.
"All natural forest conversion actvities must be stopped soon," Adi added.
In the past seven years, the population of the Sumatran Elephant has decreased from 750 to 350.
Director of the WWF Indonesia`s Species Program, Nazir Foead, also shared similar statement saying that forest conservation was the root of the conflicts between people and animal.
Citing examples, he said elephants often destroyed people`s plantations and houses and tigers attacked livestock and humans.
The damaging of Balai Raja forest was a real example of the conflict. he said.
"The area of Balai Raja forest has decreased dramatically from 16,000 hectares in 1986 to 260 hectares in 2005," he said.
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