Photo: Ecoria

Indonesia: Dead Sun Bear found in Lampung, body parts likely stolen for black market trade
By Feriawan Hidayat & Ratri M. Siniwi, 28th December 2016;

A Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) was found dead at Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park’s Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation Center in Talangsimpang, Lampung.

The national park security patrol team found the Bear’s carcass near the park borders in Sugi Sane village earlier this month.

“We found the Bear’s chest cut open, indicating the perpetrator took its enzyme-rich gallbladder intending to sell it,” Ketut, the national park’s security patrol representative, said in a statement on Tuesday (27/12).

Ketut explained that the Bear was likely tortured before its death as it was initially trapped by a sling iron. The perpetrator then appeared to have pulled out all of its teeth and claws with force. This was to get the Bear’s adrenaline flowing, which in turn makes its bile sac enlarge.

“The Bear was tortured to extract its enzymes. We suspect that the enzymes would then be sold on the black market, where they are worth millions,” Ketut added.

The national park’s security patrol team found that the offender also took the Bear’s teeth and claws to be sold illegally.

Poaching is rampant in the national park. Our team often finds abandoned animal carcasses, the result of hunting in the area,“ the officer stated. The team previously found several Porcupine (F. Hystricidae) and Mousedeer (Tragulus spp.) carcasses, as well as Deer (F. Cervidae) legs, which were discarded after their meat was taken by hunters.

The Bear carcass discovery proves that hunting protected animals is becoming too common and increased action and attention from law enforcement is needed to prevent this.

Sun Bears are protected under Indonesian law and are listed as "vulnerable” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Endangered Animals.

Source: Jakarta Globe

Photo: Bukit Barisan National Park/AFP

Indonesia: Elephant poaching in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park probed
23rd September 2015;

The management at the South Bukit Barisan National Park (TNBBS) in Lampung has launched an investigation into the killing of Yongki, a tame Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) that was found dead recently with his ivory tusks missing.

In a written statement, TNBBS Center head Timbul Batubara said the 35-year-old male Elephant, which had been a member of the park’s elephant patrol team over the past several years, had been found dead on Friday at 7:30 a.m. local time with severe wounds found at the base of his missing two tusks.

Yongki’s body, according to Timbul, was discovered just 300 meters behind his patrol camp in Pemerihan, West Pesisir regency, which is situated some 120 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital of Bandar Lampung.

“There are indications that the Elephant was killed,” Timbul said, as quoted by Antara news agency on Tuesday.

The center’s provisional investigation, according to Timbul, found no gunshot wounds in Yongki’s body. Apart from a suspiciously bluish tongue, Yongki’s mouth also showed no trace of foam that might indicate poisoning.

Yongki’s internal organs, meanwhile, looked normal despite the finding of a colon infection caused by a parasitic Paramphistomum worm.

“This [killing] case is now under investigation,” he said.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Indonesia recently revealed that the Elephant population in Sumatra had continued to decline over the past decade mainly because of poaching, particularly in Riau, Aceh and North Sumatra.

WCS said the population of Sumatran Elephants was currently no higher than 1,000, or 69 percent lower than that of 25 years ago.

The decrease in the population of Sumatran Elephants has caused the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to list the species as endangered.

Indonesian Mahout Forum chairman Nazarudin, who helped captured Yongki in the wild, said the Elephant and his herd used to attack crop fields belonging to local residents in West Lampung regency.

“In 1994, we managed to capture him and several of his friends who lagged behind their herd after storming a crop field,” he said, as quoted by kompas.com.

Yongki was later trained to become a patrol Elephant, whose main duty was to anticipate wild Elephant attacks on human beings in an effort to prevent deadly conflicts.

After several years patrolling in the Way Kambas National Park area, also in Lampung, Yongki was transferred in 2009 to the TNBBL area. In his new patrol camp, Yongki lived with four male Elephants — Karnangin, Renggo, Tomi and Sampot — and a female Elephant named Arni.

Nazarudin, who works in Way Kambas, said Yongki was among just a few patrol Elephants able find traces of wild Elephants. Yongki was also able to help park officers find their way back home after conducting a patrol in the heart of a forest.

“I have lost count of how many times Yongki was involved in our conflict prevention operations,” Nazarudin said. “[His involvement] helped reduce the number of Elephants killed by humans.”

Yongki’s killing has also sparked anger among netizens. On Tuesday, Twitter, for example, reported that the hashtag #RIPYongki had become a trending topic in Indonesia.

Source: Jakarta Post

Indonesia: #RIPYongki: Endangered elephant poisoned for ivory

By Kathy Quiano, 22nd September 2015;

Yongki was famous across Indonesia for helping to protect endangered elephant habitats.

An endangered species himself, the 34-year-old Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) patrolled the jungles of Bukit Barisan National Park on the island of Sumatra in western Indonesia on anti-poaching missions, and helped calm potentially dangerous wild Elephants threatening to stampede.

But earlier this month, Yongki, who weighed 3.3 tons, was found dead, his 3-meter long tusks cut off. And the news has sparked outrage across the country and on social media.

On the morning of September 18, one of the elephant keepers in the park found Yongki’s slumped carcass. There were no bullets in his body but his tusks appeared to have been cut off with a chainsaw, investigators say.

Initial test results indicate that Yongki was poisoned. No trace of the perpetrators has been found.

Photos of the Elephant’s body were posted online, and angry messages quickly appeared on Twitter using the hashtag #RIPYongki.

“Humans are (far more) savage than the wild itself, sometimes,” posted one user named Santi Sundari.

The massive conversion of forest land for pulpwood and palm oil plantations, as well as the encroachment of people have threatened habitats for Elephants and other wildlife in the region.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that there are between 2,400 and 2,800 Elephants left in the wild in Sumatra.

But in some cases, angry local residents and farmers have killed wild Elephants foraging for food on their plantations. And poachers, looking to cash in on the ivory, take advantage of these conflicts.

“They target both trained and wild Elephants,” said WWF Wildlife and Landscape Ecologist Sunarto, who uses one name, as is common in Indonesia.

“The peak of the killings was between 2012 to 2014. Yearly, about 15 Elephants were killed.”

For conservationists, Yongki’s death again highlights the urgent need for action to protect this critically endangered species.

“Comprehensive investigation effort is required by the authorities to identify and seize the killer,” said Anwar Purwoto, Director of Sumatra – Borneo WWF Indonesia. “It’s also important to take action to avoid another incident in the future.”

Source: CNN

Indonesia: #RIPYongki: Endangered elephant poisoned for ivory

Yongki was found dead close to the camp where he lived in a national park on the western island of Sumatra. Photo: AFP

Indonesia: Killing of endangered Sumatran Elephant sparks anger
By AFP, 21st September 2015;

A critically endangered Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) who had patrolled Indonesia’s jungles to help protect threatened habitats has been killed for his tusks, an official said Monday, sparking a surge of anger online.

Yongki, a tame creature who worked with teams of elephant keepers, was found dead close to the camp where he lived in a national park on the western island of Sumatra, said park official Timbul Batubara.

His one-metre (three-foot) tusks had been hacked off, leaving just bloody stumps, and his legs still bore the chains put on him by his keepers to ensure he stayed in the camp.

There are estimated to be less than 3,000 Sumatran Elephants remaining in the wild. They are frequently targeted by poachers for their tusks, which fetch a high price for use in Chinese traditional medicine.

Batubara, from the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, said it was not yet known how Yongki was killed.

His body, which was found Friday, bore no bullet wounds but he had a blue tongue. Elephants have in the past been poisoned.

Yongki, aged about 35, was well-known among the local “mahouts” or elephant keepers. Nazaruddin, the head of the Indonesian Mahout Forum, said keepers in the area were “very shaken”.

“We are mourning the lost of an Elephant who has been helping us in handling conflicts and helping forest rangers patrol the forest, and he was a good elephant,” Nazaruddin, who goes by one name, told AFP.

The Elephant was involved in patrols aimed at reducing tensions, with the tame elephants stopping wild Elephants from rampaging through villages. The patrols also help rangers keep a lookout for illegal logging and poaching that threaten Indonesia’s vast rain forests.

There was anger on social media after pictures of the Elephant’s body circulated, with users posting comments on Twitter next to the hashtag #RIPYongki.

“It is time we enforce life sentences for hunters of legally protected animals,” said Facebook user Aprilia Putri.

Protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the Sumatran Elephant as critically endangered. It is one of many species that are under threat in Indonesia.

Source: Yahoo! News