Wild elephants run amok, kill five residents in Indonesia

A number of elephants ran amok and killed at least five residents recently in Tangganus and East Lampung district, Indonesia's Lampung Province, on southern Sumatra island.

Most of the victims' bodies were ripped by the wild animals, while the crops in the farming areas belonging to local residents were destroyed, Antara news agency on Sunday quoted an officer of the province's forestry representative office as saying.

Conflicts between wild elephants and local residents living near forest areas in Indonesia have reportedly been taking place for years without any satisfactory solution.

In Riau Province, some 51 wild elephants have destroyed a number of villagers' houses and over tens of hectares of palm oil plantation areas at Balai Raja, Bengkalis District, in the past few months.

Two villagers were hurt in the attacks by the wild elephants, Balai Raja Village Head Samudji AMP said.

In the past two months, at least five times the wild elephants have run amok, he said.

He urged the provincial authorities to capture and relocate the elephants to an area far from human settlement.

Meanwhile, Head of Riau Conservation Section Ali Nafsir Siregar said he had been informed about the elephants which ran amok.

The village is near a protected forest which is also the habitat of Sumatran elephants. Some farmers have encroached the protected forest to open new farming areas. The human encroachment triggered the elephants to attack the villager's houses, he said.

Environmentalists in Indonesia have recently urged the government to investigate irregularities in elephant catching procedures which have caused a number of elephants to die in the past few years.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia, the Riau Administration had caught 201 wild elephants since 2000, and at least 46 of the animals had been killed due to inappropriate procedures in relocating them, the Media Indonesia daily reported recently.

The population of elephants in Riau Province has declined by around 75 percent, from around 1,067-1,617 elephants in 1983 to only 353-431 elephants in 2003.

Source: Xinhua



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