Photos: Risdawaty Nababan Facebook

Indonesia: Indonesian man comes out on top in life-or-death wrestling match with 7-meter Python
2nd October 2017;

This year, several reptile attacks have made the news in Indonesia, with the scaly beasts claiming human victims during each gruesome incident. However, one man in the Riau province seemingly beat all the odds by not only surviving his encounter with a 7-meter Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus) but killing the snake as well.

Robert Nababan, a 37-year-old resident of the Indagiri Hulu regency of Riau, is now resting in a hospital after claiming that he wrestled with the gigantic snake. In his weak physical state, he briefly told reporters the story of his battle with the beast.

According to Robert, he was driving home on his motorcycle from his job as a security guard at a palm oil plantation near his village on Saturday evening. He then came across two pedestrians who wanted to cross the road but stopped in their tracks when they saw the python lying in the middle of the road.

“I tried to catch it (the python). It bit my arm, and we wrestled for a while,” Robert said, as quoted by Detik today.

Unfortunately, before Robert could go on with his story, his family kicked out the journalists who were reporting on the story from the hospital room so that Robert could get some rest.

While we don’t yet have the specifics of the fight between man and snake, the latter’s carcass is being kept as a trophy in Robert’s village, where its long body is tied between two trees for everyone, including children, to see (see photo above).

Considering the size of that snake, it’s incredible that Robert reportedly only suffered deep cuts on his left arm and fingers from the Python’s bite, as well as exhaustion.

In March of this year, a man in West Sulawesi wasn’t as lucky when he encountered a 7-meter Python (rescuers found him dead inside the snake’s stomach, having been swallowed whole). More recently, four people, including a “crocodile shaman”, have fallen victim to reported Crocodile attacks throughout Indonesia.

Source: Coconuts Jakarta

Photo: Detik.com

Indonesia: Four Sumatran Elephants died in Riau in 2016: WWF
3rd January 2017;

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has said that four Sumatran Elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) died in 2016 in Riau Province, a decline from the previous year.

“In 2015, there were 10 cases of dead Elephants, while in 2016, the number decreased to four,” Spokesperson of WWF of the Riau Program Syamsidar said here on Tuesday.

The four deaths are believed to have occurred due to conflict between humans and wild animals.

Last year, the Tesso Nilo National Park Authority found the carcass of a Sumatran Elephant in Pelalawan District.

They also found a Sumatran Elephant snared in an industrial forest concession. The animal did not survive despite treatment.

In September last year, an Elephant calf was found trapped in a ditch in an industrial forest concession with wounds all over its body.

“An Elephant also died after being electrocuted in Duri region, near a residential area,” Syamsidar said.

No suspects were either identified or arrested in these cases, Syamsidar said.

WWF, an international non-governmental organization in the field of the wilderness preservation, and the reduction of humanitys footprint on the environment, estimated there were around 100 Sumatran elephants living in the Sumatran habitat.

As the landscapes and the habitats make way for industry and residential areas, wildlife is facing greater challenges for survival.

Although conflict between humans and wildlife is inevitable, Syamsidar said that the local authority and several private enterprises, which have forest concessions in Riau, have been working together to prevent and mitigate the conflict.

Only three private enterprises, PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), Asian Agri and PT Musim Mas, have been involved in this effort by adopting the human-wildlife conflict mitigation system being implemented by the WWF and Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) of Riau.

RAPP has established a so-called flying squad, consisting of at least four grown Elephants and two calves, whose task is to conduct patrols around the concession area to avert human-wildlife conflict as well as prevent Elephant herds trespassing into residential areas or villages.

Asian Agri has a similar program but they conduct patrolling without using Elephants, Syamsidar said.

“They perform the patrol manually, without any Elephants, but still adopt the measures used by the WWF, such as using a carbide cannon,” he said.

PT Musim Mas, however, is committed to provide financial support for the program, Syamsidar said.

Source: Antara

Photo: Okezone

Indonesia: Injured Elephant calf dies in Bengkalis forest plantation
9th September 2016;

An injured Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) calf reportedly died in an industrial forest plantation in Bengkalis district, Riau, on Thursday (08/09), a day after it was found.

“The Elephant was found in a forest plantation, not in the conservation area,” Fifian J. Yogaswara, head of the technical department at the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in Riau, told Antara in Pekanbaru.

He said BKSDA Riau field officers received information on Wednesday that the calf had been found in the Arara Abadi industrial plantation.

According to Fifian, the calf was still alive at the time, but with half its body submerged in a water reservoir.

“We were trying to help the animal, but because we asked for assistance from [local nongovernmental organization] Vesswick in Medan [North Sumatra] and backup from the Pekanbaru office, help only arrived at around 8.00 a.m. on Thursday,” Fifian said. “But we were too late.”

He said he strongly suspects that the Elephant was part of a herd that lives in the Balai Raja wildlife conservation area, which borders the Arara Abadi concession.

Fifian further suspects that the calf became separated from its mother due to illness and that it died as a result of multiple stab wounds.

BKSDA Riau will be conducting an autopsy to confirm the cause of death.

Meanwhile, Arara Abadi spokesperson Nurul Huda said the Elephant calf was spotted with injuries and infected wounds on its legs.

“The injured calf was trying to find water, which led it to the site’s water reservoir,” she said.

Although a teams from Arara Abadi and BKSDA Riau managed to remove the Elephant from the reservoir, it succumbed due to its poor health condition.

Source: Jakarta Globe

Indonesia: Sumatran Elephants poisoned, electrocuted

By Apriadi Gunawan and Jon Afrizal, 28th February 2016;

Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) populations have been continuing to decrease mainly due to illegal hunting, which uses various methods to kill the protected giant mammal, from poisoning to electrocution.

“Recently, we found many Elephants dead from poisoning and electrocution. The illegal hunters consider those ways not too risky,” Doni Gunaryadi of the Indonesia Elephant Conservation Forum (FKGI) told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

Doni said almost every month an Elephant was found dead in Sumatra due to illegal hunting that takes place in eight of the island’s nine provinces.

He said that today there was no Elephant hunting in West Sumatra because there had been no Elephants in the province since 2007 when their habitat in Kota Panjang was used for the construction of a hydro power plant.

According to the FKGI’s data, the Elephant population across Sumatra is estimated to have reached 2,400 in 2007, but had decreased to 1,700 elephants in 2014.

Doni said there had been an increase in illegal hunting recently due to high prices being paid for the animal’s tusks.

For a super quality tusk, he said, the price could reach tens of millions of rupiah per kilogram while the price of a small tusk could reach millions of rupiah per kilogram.

He said tusks of Sumatran Elephants were sold in and outside of Sumatra, reaching Bali and East Nusa Tenggara where foreign buyers were waiting. “The buyers are mostly foreigners. They love Sumatran Elephant tusks because they’re beautifully shaped and strong,” he said.

Besides illegal hunting, Doni said, the decreasing population of the Elephants was also caused by the expansion of plantations, including massive palm-oil plantations.

He said the Elephants that lost their habitats entered residential areas to seek food and were getting into trouble with villagers.

“Conflicts between Elephants and residents are happening, especially in Riau, Jambi and Aceh. In those three regions, the mortality rate of Elephants is dozens every year,” he said.

FKGI chairman Krismanko Padang said police were currently detaining two illegal hunters for killing two Elephants in Tebo regency in Jambi recently. Police are also searching for the hunters’ accomplices.

Krismanko said the hunters, who were arrested in Riau, would be charged under the Conservation Law for crimes that carried a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a fine of Rp 100 million (US$7,100).

On Jan. 21 the Pangkalan Kerinci District Court in Riau sentenced four men to two-and-a-half years in prison each for hunting and killing Elephants in Tesso Nilo National Park (TNTN) in Pelalawan regency. The court also fined them Rp 20 million each.

Source: Jakarta Post

Indonesia: Sumatran Elephants poisoned, electrocuted

  1. An injured Sumatran elephant calf pictured after its leg became entangled at the Balairaja wildlife sanctuary in Bengkalis, in the Riau province of Indonesia’s Sumatra island, on February 18, 2016
  2. Veterinary workers treat a sick elephant calf after its leg became entangled at the Balairaja wildlife sanctuary in Bengkalis, in Riau province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, on February 18, 2016

Photos: AFP / Fachrozi Amri

Indonesia: Sumatran Elephant found with leg almost severed by rope
19th February 2016;

A Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) calf lies stricken in the jungle in Indonesia as conservationists fight to remove a rope tightly wound around its leg that almost caused the critically endangered animal to lose a limb.

The youngster was spotted with another calf and their mother in a wildlife sanctuary in Bengkalis, Riau province, with their legs entangled in ropes that are believed to have come from traps set by locals, according to the Indonesian Mahout Association.

The calf lies on its side in the mud, as a rescuer holds an intravenous drip that is attached to the creature, during the operation to remove the tightly wound cord.

His leg was saved but the other two Elephants were not so lucky – the mother lost her tail and the other calf lost a leg, according to the association, which believes the Elephants were entangled for several months.

After being alerted by a group of trekkers who posted pictures on social media, local conservationists tracked down the Elephants and carefully removed the ropes from their legs and treated their wounds.

The operation took a week due to a lack of decent equipment and ended Friday, with all the ropes removed and the pachyderms left in the wild, according to mahout association chairman Nazaruddin, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. A mahout is an Elephant keeper.

It is not clear whether the Elephants were the intended targets of the rope traps or if villagers were trying to catch other animals for food, Nazaruddin said.

Protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the Sumatran Elephant as critically endangered, and there are believed to be less than 3,000 remaining in the wild.

Source: AFP

Photos: Detik.com [1], [2], [3]

Indonesia: Elephant electrocuted, investigation urged
By Rizal Harahap, 5th February 2016;

The Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) said on Thursday the death of a Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus), the carcass of which was found in the Balai Raja subdistrict, Pinggir district, Bengkalis, was caused by electrocution and is urging the government to probe into the case.

“The indication is supported by a skin injury on its trunk, which likely made contact with the electrified fence,” said the BKSDA Duri region head Haluanto Ginting.

Haluanto said the allegation was also strengthened by a damaged wire fence at a cassava farm close to where the dead Elephant was found.

Based on an initial investigation, the cassava farm purposely installed an electrified fence to protect plants from being damaged by wild Elephants.

“I cannot make sure whether the person who installed the electrified fence could be implicated. Just let investigators decide it,” said Haluanto.

A necropsy, conducted by a team of veterinarians at the BKSDA, did not find any trace of poison inside the internal organs of the Elephant, which was found dead on Wednesday.

“The necropsy was delayed at one point because of bad weather, but was eventually completed before noon. It’s almost certain the Elephant was not poisoned,” said Haluanto.

He said the Elephant carcass would be buried today, while samples of its internal organs would be sent for analysis to a veterinary lab in Bogor, West Java, or in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra.

“The lab results will be issued in the next two weeks, when the exact cause of the elephant’s death will be disclosed,” he added.

Separately, Duri-Riau Environmental Activists Association (Hipam) head Zulhusni Syukri urged relevant agencies to investigate the alleged use of electrified fences to protect farms from Elephants.

“Elephant deaths from electrified fences are not new. Two years ago, an Elephant was also electrocuted in Semunai village, Pinggir district, Bengkalis,” said Zulhusni.

“It’s very dangerous. Many farm owners in Bengkalis install electrified fences to protect their farms. This must be thoroughly probed, especially if it violates the law,” added Zulhusni.

Based on Riau Program Worldwide Fund for Nature (AAF) Indonesia, the Elephant’s death was the first in Bengkalis this year. Last year, two wild bull Elephants were killed, one in February because of poaching and the second in July because of poisoning.

To prevent Elephant deaths from occurring, Riau Program WWF Indonesia spokesperson Syamsidar urged the government to restore the function of the Balai Raja Wildlife Refuge. “The natural animal habitat is extremely disturbed so Elephants roam up to people’s farms in search of food,” said Syamsidar.

She also highlighted the presence of a number of companies clearing the Balai Raja conservation forest for expansion at will. “Overlapping licensing should immediately be resolved. The relevant authorities must be firm that all the oil palm trees in the conservation area must be cut. The cut areas must be further monitored to prevent other parties from claiming them,” said Syamsidar.

Apart from the Balai Raja Wildlife Refuge, she added Elephants had also lost a source of food in their habitat that had been converted into acacia and oil palm plantations.

“The Elephants’ roaming range stretches from Balai Raja to the border between Bengkalis and Rokan Hulu regencies. The Elephants traverse many concessions all the time so that their habitat is further fragmented and overlaps with human activities,” she said.

Syamsidar suggested companies whose concessions were included in the Elephant roaming range to form a response team to prevent victims of human-animal conflicts.

“The potential of conflicts is apparently high, so concession holders must be involved in Elephant protection efforts. Apart from conducting patrols to monitor Elephants entering and leaving a concession area, the response team must also be able to anticipate a human-Elephant conflict,” said Syamsidar.

Source: Jakarta Post

Great loss: A mahout examines the corpse of a baby Elephant who was part of a team of tame elephants in Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau, dubbed the Flying Squad. The elephant, named Tino, was found dead on Friday morning.
Photo: WWF-Indonesia

Indonesia: Young Elephant dies at Tesso Nilo National Park
By Rizal Harahap, 24th November 2015;

The Flying Squad, a team of tame Elephants and their mahouts, managed jointly by the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Tesso Nilo National Park (TNTN) Agency and the WWF-Indonesia’s Riau program, has lost another of its members after Tino, a 2-year-old female Elephant, was found dead in the national park on Friday morning.

Erwin Daulay, the Elephant’s caregiver, was scheduled to take Tino and her mother Ria to a bathing site when he found the young elephant’s body.

“Erwin found Tino with her head in the dirt, around 10 meters from where Ria was tied up. She had continued to look at her baby Elephant,” WWF-Indonesia’s Riau program spokesperson Samsidar said on Tuesday.

Samsidar said that one day before Tino died, the Elephant was observed participating actively in all of the Flying Squad’s normal routines. “She was very active, swimming and diving with all the Elephants in the Flying Squad team when they took a bath together in the Perbekalan River in the Tesso Nilo National Park area.”

Tino was the fourth baby Elephant born to a Flying Squad member. Mahouts at the WWF’s Riau program camp in Lubuk Kembang Bunga village, Pelalawan regency, Riau, named her Tino, taken from betino, which means “woman with a calm demeanor” in the area’s local language.

After Erwin reported the discovery, the Pelalawan administration’s animal husbandry agency’s veterinarian, Muchlisin, conducted an autopsy at the location.

“The autopsy took place until midnight on Friday and it ran a bit slowly due to rain,” said Samsidar.

She denied accusations that WWF-Indonesia had stalled the publication of information on the incident for four days as it occurred in a conservation area.

“Initially, we wanted to publish this case on Sunday morning but we had to first wait for the TNTN head’s approval for the publication as it is under the [TNTN] agency’s authority,” said Samsidar.

She said some of the Elephant’s internal organs had been sent to a laboratory at the Veterinary Agency in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, to ascertain the cause of death. “Usually, the results of laboratory tests are available in around two weeks,” she added.

Meanwhile, Muchlisin said he did not find any indications of violence on Tino’s body. “But there was a red rash, which could have been caused by accumulating gas or bloating in her intestines. There are many factors that could cause such a condition, one of which is the consumption of too much young grass,” he said.

TNTN head Tandya Tjahjana said he had assigned civil servant investigators to the case. “They have traced areas around the location where she was found dead to see whether there is a particular situation that could endanger Elephants in the area,” said Tandya.

The BKSDA Riau’s technical affairs division head, Lukita Awang Nistyantara, said it was the second time the Flying Squad had lost a young Elephant this year. “In May, a baby Elephant named Nela was found dead in the national park area,” said Lukita.

“This should be a valuable lesson for us that the challenges of conservation efforts, including in protecting the lives of Elephants in Sumatra, remain very high.”

Source: Jakarta Post