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Buffaloes intrude into elephants habitat in Way Kambas national park (Indonesia)

jeudi 8 octobre 2009

Labuhan Ratu, Lampung Timur (ANTARA News) - Scores of local residents` buffaloes have intruded into elephant habitat in Way Kambas National Park (TNWK), East Lampung, causing many elephants to leave the region and enter areas inhabited by humans.

"We saw scores of buffaloes roaming freely in the park. It`s a very unwelcome disturbance in the elephants` habitat," said elephant trainer in TNWK Lampung, Nazarudin, in Labuhan Ratu, East Lampung, Wednesday.

He said the TNWK had written to local government officials about the buffaloes` presence in the national park. However, so far no concrete action had been taken to address the problem.

Scores of elephants had now left the park area and entered human populated areas where they destroyed people`s crops, he said.

"We did a calculation while herding the elephants back into the park. There are only about 30-40 buffaloes, not 80," he said.

He added that the wild elephants` herding was done from morning to evening, due to the hard terrain and the long distance, which required more time to get them back into the park.

"However, at night time we are still on guard, along with people from neighboring villages," he said.

The elephants in the national park were wild ones , therefore the herding process had to be done carefully, he said.

"We`re engaged 18 `mahouts` or elephant tamers , three officers from the forestry office and forest ecosystem control agency," he said.

TNWK head Jhon Kenedie said the buffaloes that had been deliberately released into the national park were disturbing the elephants because the buffaloes were also eating the food reserved for the elephants.

"The elephants habitat is threatened if people`s buffaloes are left alone in the park," he said.

Meanwhile, the elephant population in Way Kambas National Park which covers a total area of 135,000 hectares was now only 200-250 while 26 others were at the Way Kambas Elephant Training Center.

Antara News October 8, 2009

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