by: Zulhusni Syukri
Balairaja wildlife reserve area is a lowland forest block designated as a protected area of endemic animals, especially the Sumatran elephant. Currently, Balairaja wildlife reserve area undergoes significant functional changes from the area should be as protection, turned into plantation land, community settlements, office buildings, schools and roads that Dividing the Balairaja wildlife reserve area resulting in narrowing of the elephant habitat thus causing A serious threat to the survival of Sumatran elephants within the Balairaja wildlife reserve area.
Habitat narrowing in the Balairaja wildlife reserve area forced the Sumatran elephants to survive outside the Balairaja wildlife reserve area, there is currently no evidence of elephants in protected areas (analysis of the movement of elephants within the core area of Balairaja wildlife sanctuary RSF-2016), Elephant movement is only found in border area and outside Balairaja wildlife sanctuary area.
Changes in the pattern of elephant movement from within the Balairaja wildlife reserve area, resulting in high intensity of elephant visits to community settlements outside the Balairaja wildlife sanctuary area, Resulting in uncontrolled conflicts between villagers and elephants, villages that are high conflict areas in 2016-2017 are:
- Village Pinggir
- Village Balairaja
- Pematang pudu village
- Semunai Village
- Balai Pungut village
The high number of elephants and human coflik cause high loss of society and level Elephant deaths in Balairaja Landscapes, every year there has been an unusual elephant death caused by toxins, electrification fences that do not meet the safety standards.
Elephant death in Balairaja landscape 2013-2017:
No Year Age Gender Cause of death
1 2013 3 tails & 1 child 2 adults & 1 male 2 allegedly toxic
2 2014 2 tails Adult females 1Poison 1 ill
3 2015 1 Adult Female Toxic tail
4 2016 1 tail Adult Female Electric shock
5 2017 – – –
In addition to escaping elephant and human conflicts, habitat narrowing also leads to the depletion of the natural supply of elephant feed in the Balairaja elephant habitat. Areas where previous elephants foraging, decorating and wallowing have transformed their function into highways and other infrastructure.
The narrowness of habitat, causing the Balairaja elephant group to be divided Into small groups. Currently identified the Balairaja elephant group is divided Into two small groups, one group settled in Balairaja’s cage (estimated 8 tails) and one more group can be found in Giam Siak Kecil Elephant Bag (Estimated to number 22 tails), there is also information circulating in the community that Elephant group balairaja make movement up to the adjacent Rokan Hilir area
With Mahato elephant pouch but until now there has been no supporting evidence Information.
Responding to the condition of elephants and balairaja habitat at this time, to maintain Elephant survival Balairaja and does not end with extinction, coaching strategy Habitat is a recommended strategy is expected to be implemented immediately, Guidance of recommended habitat such as:
- Enriched natural feed by way of planting
- enriched area rich in sodium chloride (salting area)
- The isolated wild elephant isolation room (sanctuary).