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

  1. The body of a critically endangered Sumatran Elephant, named Yongki, lies on the ground after he was found dead in his enclosure close to the camp where he lived.
  2. Yongki, an endangered Elephant and beloved park ranger, was found dead on Friday in a national park in southern Sumatra.

Photos: Bukit Barisan National Park/AFP

Indonesia: Yongki, endangered Sumatran Elephant and loyal ‘park ranger’, killed by poachers
By Michael E. Miller, 22nd September 2015

By the time the park rangers reached Yongki, it was too late.

Instead of rising majestically to his full height of 10 feet, the massive Elephant remained on the ground. And when the mahouts, or elephant riders, approached their two-ton friend, they saw Yongki was lying in a pool of his own blood. The animal’s tongue was bright blue, as if poisoned, and there were gory stumps where his three-foot tusks had been.

Yongki, an endangered Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus), was dead — slaughtered for his precious ivory tusks.

The grim discovery on Friday in Sumatra’s Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park marks the latest round of a raging international debate over poaching.

It comes two months after American dentist Walter Palmer shot and killed Cecil the Lion. And like the Zimbabwean big cat’s demise, Yongki’s death promises to stir widespread anger and criticism.

The hashtag #RIPYongki was already trending on Twitter in Indonesia on Tuesday morning, as were the grisly photos of the Elephant’s corpse.

Park officials told The Washington Post that they were “very sad” over the incident and have launched an investigation.

Yongki’s death is a significant blow to both Indonesia and the world. Sumatran Elephants — one of four Asian Elephant subspecies — are rare; there are less than 2,000 left alive, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Sumatra, a large island in the west of the Indonesian archipelago, has struggled to protect the animals. Poaching has slashed the island’s Elephant population over the past decade. Last year was particularly bloody, with at least 45 Elephants killed; a 55 percent increase over 2013, according to Vice.

But Yongki wasn’t just an endangered Elephant.

He was also a park ranger.

Yongki was a tame Elephant who had spent much of his roughly 35 years around humans, according to AFP. Along with his mahouts — a term used across south and southeast Asia for elephant riders — the lumbering creature was a member of a conservation response unit, or CRU, that sought to protect the natural habitat.

Every day, Yongki and his human partners would patrol the dense jungles of southern Sumatra. With a mahout on his back, he would trudge along paths too treacherous for any mechanized vehicle, on the lookout for ivory poachers, illegal loggers or farmers encroaching on protected parkland.

Yongki also had another duty: liaising between species.

Sumatran park rangers use tame Elephants like Yongki to drive wild Elephants back into the jungle, avoiding clashes between Elephants and farmers who have been known to take revenge upon the animals.

As one of only a handful of Elephant rangers in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Yongki will be sorely missed.

“All staff [are] … very sad because [of] one Elephant’s death in National Park,” a park official wrote in an e-mail to The Post.

“We are mourning the [loss] 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 is the head of the Indonesia Mahout Forum and goes by one name, told AFP.

He added that the mahout in the park were “very shaken” by the Elephant’s killing.

Yongki was found on Friday at around 7:30 p.m. near a lodge inside the park, according to a press release provided to The Post. He had bled to death from his severed tusks.

The only hint as to how the poachers subdued the animal was his “very blue tongue.”

Poisoning Elephants is increasingly common in Sumatra, where poachers can make a year’s salary with one set of tusks. Many locals also view the animals as pests. Last year, seven Elephants were found dead from suspected poisoning in a single day, the Guardian reported.

Raw ivory can fetch between $2,200 and $2,640 per pound, Vice reported. While some tusks are kept as trophies, others are used in traditional Chinese medicine, according to AFP.

Yongki’s death is a setback for Sumatra. In February, police in the north of the island celebrated a major success, catching eight suspected ivory traffickers including five poachers who admitted to killing four Elephants, according to WWF.

The Elephant’s killing is sure to inflame the international debate over poaching just as it started to die down two months after the controversy over big game trophy hunting and Cecil the Lion.

Source: The Washington 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

Indonesia: Virus kills four young elephants in Lampung

4th February 2015;

A state of emergency has been declared at the Elephant Conservation Center (PKG) in Way Kambas National Park in Lampung following to the death of four young elephants over the past three months.

The four juveniles, aged between three and eight years old, died after being infected by the elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus.

PKG head Antonius Fevri said the state of emergency was declared after the deadly virus claimed a quarter, or four of 16 young elephants in the breeding area. He said this was the first outbreak of the virus at the center.

“The virus attack is very fast and the incident lasts less than 24 hours. The first three young elephants who died in November 2014 showed symptoms of the illness in the morning and were dead by the afternoon,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.

“The infected elephants [all] show similar symptoms. Our employees found them in weak condition with their tongues turned blue and a significant drop in body temperature, he said.

Antonius said he suspected the virus had been transferred by adult elephants to younger elephants but that the juveniles were unable to fight the virus because of their lower immunity levels.

He said the state of emergency would last for 20 days and that a medical team would check up on the remaining juveniles twice a day, who would be segregated from the adult elephats.

Source: Jakarta Post

Indonesia: Virus kills four young elephants in Lampung