Borneo pygmy elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis) are under threat in Indonesia’s new North Kalimantan province, where their habitat is set to be converted for rubber, jabon and sengon plantations. Experts worry that if the planned conversion goes ahead, the entire elephant population in Indonesian Borneo could be lost.
Two forest plantation companies – PT Borneo Utara Lestari (PT BUL) and PT Intracawood Manufacturing (PT IWM) – have been granted Industrial Plantation Forest (HTI) concessions in Tulin Onsoi in North Kalimantan’s Nunukan district. Both concessions fall within the Heart of Borneo, an area the Indonesian, Malaysian, and Brunei governments have committed to manage sustainably, and overlap significantly with pygmy elephant habitat. The companies have already secured initial permit approval and are currently carrying out environmental impact assessments for the projects.
“The conversion of endangered animal habitat for the development of HTI should not be done,” said Agus Suyitno, a human-elephant conflict mitigation officer with WWF-Indonesia’s East Kalimantan program, in a statement to the media on Feb. 28.
Around 66 percent of the area proposed for conversion by PT BUL and 100 percent of PT IWM’s planned conversion area overlaps with elephant habitat, an analysis from WWF-Indonesia shows.
Agus said he is worried that if the planned conversion goes ahead, it could lead to the loss of Kalimantan’s entire elephant population. He also warned that conversion of elephant habitat would have a negative impact on people living in the area and lead to increased conflicts between local communities and elephants.
“If this area is opened, wild elephants will face a shortage of natural food. As a result, elephants will look for food in human settlements, triggering conflicts,” he said.
Indigenous people in the area also oppose the conversion, concerned about the loss of their customary forest and the well being of the elephant population, which the Dayak Agabag people of Tulin Onsoi consider to be a sacred animal.
“In this area we also have customary forests,” said Ilay, the vice customary chief of the Tulid River area in Tulin Onsoi. “If our forest is opened later nenek will be angry and will certainly come to the village often to eat our crops,” he said, referring to the elephants by the Dayak Agabag name, nenek, which also means grandmother.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified Asian elephants, of which the Borneo pygmy elephant is a subspecies, as endangered. Research by WWF-Indonesia and the East Kalimantan Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) from 2007-2012 indicates an estimated 20-80 pygmy elephants are living in North and East Kalimantan.
Pygmy elephants in Malaysia’s Sabah province have also come under threat recently, where 14 elephants in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve were found dead of suspected poisoning in January.
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0310-dparker-indonesia-pygmy-elephants.html
Share this post with your friends
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? – [3488 Views]
- POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? – [2015 Views]
- POLL: Should Nevada’s wild horses be protected from roundups and slaughter? – [1802 Views]
- POLL: Should the export of young elephants to Chinese zoos be banned? – [1491 Views]
- POLL: Should the Grand Canyon Bison be culled? – [1316 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a total ban on trade in rhino horn? – [1263 Views]
- POLL: Should trail (fox) hunting on National Trust land be stopped? – [1169 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on the shark fin trade? – [1012 Views]
- Radioactive Boar Wreak Havoc on Swedish Landscape – [823 Views]
- POLL: Would you support the reintroduction of the wolf in the UK? – [806 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7628 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [7187 Views]
- POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [3693 Views]
- POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [3037 Views]
- POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
- POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
- POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
- POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]
- POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for slaughtering Minke whales? [2289 Views]
- POLL: Should all tiger farms in China be closed down? [2081 Views]