Caption: Local forestry officials examines the elephant carcass found in Pontian Mekar Village, in the buffer zone of Tesso Nilo National Park. (Picture by Samusardi/WWF-Indonesia)
Ivory Hunting on Sumatran Elephant is Rampant in Riau Media Indonesia Online: May 8, 2006 By Bagus Pratomo PEKANBARU--MIOL: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Riau indicates that elephant poaching for the ivory is rampant in Riau. Since end of February this year, at least four elephants were dead without ivory.
The latest incident were Monday (April 8), when WWF found a carcass of male elephant without ivory near a timber concession of PT Rimba Lazuardi, Lubuk Batu Tinggal Village, Pontian Mekar Village, Sub-district Pasir Penyu, District of Indragiri Hulu (Inhu). It is located in the buffer zone of Tesso Nilo National Park.
Nurchalis Fadli, Coordinator of Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation of WWF’s office in Riau, when contacted by Media Indonesia predicted that the elephant may have been died from 4 to 5 days ago.
On the forehead, three holes -apparently from gun fire- were found. The trunk was cut off. Near the location, the team found one other dead elephant, with only skeleton left.
"The trunk was intentionally cut off to make the ivory removal easier and therefore keep it on the highest quality. This fact shows that the elephant were killed by professional, not the amateur, nor killed as the result of human-elephant conflict," said Nurchalis.
This finding even strengthened the indication of rampant ivory hunting in Riau. According to Nurchalis these hunters may consist of a group of opportunist who use the moment of conflict between human and elephant in Riau to hunt for the ivory. These hunters are hiding behind the conflict, as many people may assume the elephant may have died because of ‘regular’ conflict.
Since February, every male elephant that found death has their ivory removed. According to Nurchalis, among the six elephants found dead in the border between Rokan Hulu District, Riau and South Tapanuli, North Sumatra last February, two male elephants’ ivory removed.
Last Wednesday (May 3) one more elephant carcass found near industrial timber plantation (HTI) of PT. Arara Abadi (of Asia Pulp and Paper/APP) in Tasik Serai Village, Sub-district of Pinggir, Bengkalis District, Riau. The elephant found dead with holes from gun shot in some parts of the body and trunk cut off.
"Only professional hunters can do such kind of operation, as they have marketing network to sell the ivory. There was no indication that it was done by regular citizen" said Nurchalis.
Poachers hunt ivory for its expensive price. One ivory weight from 10 kilograms down priced around 5 million Rupiah per kilogram, while ivory weight from 10 kilograms up priced around10 million Rupiah per kilogram in the black market.
Original version in Bahasa Map of the location click here Elephant Tragedy in Riau 2006