Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Deadly attacks shed light on Indonesia's human-animal conflicts

Two women killed in elephant attack in Indonesia: official
Two women were crushed to death when wild elephants attacked villagers in Indonesia's Aceh province, an official said Wednesday. The two women were killed Tuesday when a pair of elephants trampled the hut in which they were sitting in a field outside the village of Jok in Aceh, a province at the northern end of Sumatra island, local district head Azahari Yacob told AFP. "One woman was killed at the location and another one passed away on the way to the hospital," Yacob said. "This is the first incident in the area. Before this, no elephants had come in and disturbed the community." The provincial conservation agency sent a team including four tame elephants to chase away the wild elephants, Yacob said, adding that frightened villagers refused to return to the fields. Conflicts between wild animals and humans have long been on the rise on Sumatra, where legal and illegal logging is rapidly reducing the tropical jungle. The number of Sumatran elephants is also declining, with only 2,440 to 3,350 left in the wild, according to environmental group WWF.
by Staff Writers
Banda Aceh, Indonesia (AFP) Jan 28, 2009
A spate of recent deadly animal attacks in Indonesia has thrown the spotlight on growing conflicts between humans and animals triggered by the rapid dwindling of the country's forests.

In the latest attack, two women were trampled to death by a pair of elephants in Aceh province on the northern tip of Sumatra island Tuesday after the elephants entered an illegally cleared field from nearby jungle.

The attack, from which another six villagers narrowly escaped with their lives, came just days after a rubber-tapper was reportedly killed by two rare Sumatran tigers as he urinated outside his hut in Jambi province, also on Sumatra.

The attacks are called human-animal conflicts, and they are a rising problem in Indonesia, an archipelago nation with some of the world's largest remaining tropical forests and a swelling population of 234 million people.

As people spread into previously untouched forests, big animals such as tigers, elephants and orangutans are being robbed of the large habitats needed to sustain their populations, Arnold Sitompul, the head of environmental group Elephant Forum, told AFP.

"The main reason (for conflicts) is habitat loss. There is a lot of habitat loss going on in Indonesia for plantations, mining," Sitompul said.

Without their habitats, animals such as elephants turn up on newly settled areas at the forest's edge, devouring and trampling crops and terrorising villagers. The result is often deadly for both humans and animals.

"Elephants can tolerate some disturbances but if you go there and set up settlements it will lead to conflict... Why is that? Because elephants don't like humans and humans are scared of elephants, because they're big," Sitompul said.

Poisonings and shootings of animals in conflict areas are a common occurrence. At least 45 elephants were killed in mass poisonings between 2002 and 2006 in Sumatra's Riau province alone, according to environmental group WWF.

"In places like Aceh, conflict between humans and elephants and humans and tigers is increasing," said WWF forest program director Ian Kosasih, who added that there are no solid figures on how many conflicts are happening nationwide.

"In some areas you can't say it's increasing but it's still there ... I'm sure it's not getting better anywhere."

Sumatra island, blanketed in forests until just decades ago, is the hotspot for the clash between humans, elephants and tigers, Kosasih said.

Kalimantan on Indonesia's half of Borneo island is the centre of a more uneven conflict, with the killing of orangutans who stray onto rapidly expanding palm oil plantations and farms.

Local governments and non-governmental organisations are working hard to mitigate the conflicts, but so far have met with mixed success.

In response to the most recent attack in Aceh, the local conservation authority sent a team of 15 people -- and four tame elephants -- to scare the wild elephants back into the jungle.

But such measures, which in the case of elephants also include techniques such as planting barriers of acacia trees and spiky shrubs, are only a stop-gap so long as forest habitats are being destroyed, Aceh conservation agency head Andi Basrul said.

"If we don't all together protect the forest, then it will be difficult to overcome the elephant attacks, because it is their homes that are being interfered with," Basrul said.

"If, for comparison, it were our homes and yards that were being destroyed, of course we'd be angry. It's the same with elephants."

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Darwin Today At

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

How Does A Dog Walk? Surprisingly, Many Of Us Don't Really Know
Budapest, Hungary (SPX) Jan 29, 2009
Despite the fact that most of us see our four-legged friends walking around every day, most of us-including many experts in natural history museums and illustrators for veterinary anatomy text books-apparently still don't know how they do it.

  • UNICEF needs soar past one billion dollars
  • Fresh warnings after storm kills 26 in southern Europe
  • Risk Factors That Affected World Trade Center Evacuation
  • Fresh warnings after storm kills 26 in southern Europe

  • Climate change: Scientists doubt claims over sea 'fertilisation'
  • Climate Change's Impact On Invasive Plants In Western US May Create Restoration Opportunities
  • Global warming 'irreversible' for next 1000 years: study
  • Argentina issues agricultural emergency due to drought

  • NASA Tracks A Green Planet Called Earth
  • New Steps In ESA Cooperation For GMES Program
  • The Orbiting Carbon Observatory And The Mystery Of The Missing Sinks
  • With Cheney gone, Google gains sky view of VP's home

  • Analysis: Mexico's Pemex production down
  • Analysis: Nabucco gets little more support
  • Analysis: Lower oil prices plague Nigeria
  • Geo-engineering 'useful' against climate change: study

  • Progress made toward smallpox medication
  • WHO says no evidence of China bird flu epidemic
  • China reports fifth bird flu death this year
  • Wallet-Sized Malaria Tests Promise Better Diagnoses

  • Deadly attacks shed light on Indonesia's human-animal conflicts
  • How Does A Dog Walk? Surprisingly, Many Of Us Don't Really Know
  • Climate change setting penguins on march to extinction: study
  • The Vicuna Is Back From The Brink In South America

  • Over 4,000 industrial plants without proper permits: EU
  • Study Links Water Pollution With Declining Male Fertility
  • Blame game as Mexico City trash piles up
  • HK pollution levels 10 times clean air guidelines: scientists

  • Imaging Study Illustrates How Memories Change In The Brain Over Time
  • Sociability Traced To Particular Region Of Brain
  • Scientists try to build a synthetic brain
  • Pacific People Spread From Taiwan

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement