A wild elephant with a GPS tracker on its neck wandered to an oil palm plantation, damaging some plants in Anak Talang village in Batang Cenaku, Indragiri Hulu regency, Riau.
Indragiri Hulu Police spokesperson First Insp. Yarmen Djambak said Tuesday the male elephant had been entering residents’ plantations since Sept. 29. After eating young palm kernels, the elephant went in the direction of an acacia plantation. He was spotted in the oil palm plantation again in search of food.
“The last time we spotted him was last Friday at 11 a.m. local time,” Yarmen said.
He said the elephant likely came from a conservation area in Tebo regency in the neighboring province Jambi.
He warned residents working on the plantations to be on alert and to try their hardest to avoid conflict with the protected animal. To anticipate its movements, the elephant is being monitored by four employees at Frankfurt Zoological Society in Jambi, in coordination with the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) in Riau and the Forestry Agency in Indragiri Hulu.
An employee at BBKSDA Riau, Parmohonan Lubis, said the animal entered the village due to its shrinking habitat. “In the Bukit Betabuh protected forest, we prepared 40 square kilometers of fields for wild elephants. But now, many residents have opened fields there,” he said.
Local media have reported for years that besides residents, companies had also entered the conservation area and opened plantations in Bukit Betabuh, Indragiri Hulu regency.