Blog Belantara

The implementation of an Early Warning Strategy for Elephants and Humans Conflict Mitigation in Koto Pait Beringin Village, Giam Siak Kecil Bukit Batu (GSK-BB) Grant Area

Belantara Foundation provides grants to the consortium of the Giam Siak Kecil Bukit Batu Ecosystem to run conservation programs, especially the protection of endangered animals and the handling of elephant and human conflicts that occur in the area of Giam Siak Kecil Bukit Batu (GSK-BB).

One of the grant support is allocated for the establishment of a conflict mitigation team conducted by our partner, Rimba Satwa Foundation in Kotopait Beringin Village to overcome the elephant and human conflict in the village so that the elephant conservation area can be protected and the community is protected from destruction by the elephants.

Here is the story of the field contributor, Zulhusni Syukri - Chairman of the Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation Team, and a member of the Consortium of Ecosystem Giam Siak Kecil Bukit Batu (GSK-BB), the implementing partner of  Belantara Foundation's program.

After receiving news from Mr. Brema Sitepu (Head of the conflict mitigation team) on the possibility of a wild elephant group heading to Kotopait village, the villagers are quickly notified, and the villagers are appealed to be alert.

Currently,  Mr. Syafrinaldi the Rimba Satwa patrol team coordinator is in the village of Melibur to follow the movement of the elephant group which is beginning to approach the village of Kotopoait Beringin. The cloudy weather followed by the drizzle is causing the wild elephant group to be increasingly eager to walk and search for food between the Akasia plants owned by PT Arara Abadi which is bordered directly by Kotopoait Beringin village.

Two patrol teams continue to monitor the movement of the elephant group. Meanwhile, at the village boundary, two other patrol teams together with Samsuardi (nicknamed Sam Gajah) assisted by the local community are creating a strategy to herd the wild elephant group.

© Rimba Satwa
© Rimba Satwa

The trumpet sounds of the elephant leader calling its group are heard, causing the patrol team and the community to be more alert, and at 19.03  the wild elephant group is seen approaching the community plantation. The patrol team together with the community mitigation team starts the herding maneuvers by sounding loud cannons simultaneously by five mitigation team members who line up three meters apart while walking towards the elephants to steer the elephant group away from the community's plantation.

© Rimba Satwa

At 21.45 pm, with well-established coordination and communication, the wild elephant group of 35-40 elephants can be brought back into the Industrial Planting Forest which is directly adjacent to the community's plantation. The team utilizes this opportunity for dinner and discussions with the local community, but one hour later the wild elephant group came back to community's plantation. This time the team had to work harder because now the wild elephant came and divided into small groups. Even so, with the provided assistance, and the cohesiveness and growing confidence of the community, we were able to herd the elephant group as far as 2 km away from the communities homes and worked until 03.00 am.

© Rimba Satwa

Attempts to deal with wild elephant groups can hurt the team and the community if they aren't handled with the right way and technique. Our work has not been completed yet. As now the RSF team together with BKSDA and Tasik Serai villagers are still struggling with wild elephant groups approaching the community settlements.

The people are very appreciative of what the Rimba Satwa team has done because there has never been any such attention or action in this village.

Leave a Comment