Suka Makmue, Aceh (ANTARA) - A wild Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) sneaked into and destroyed the farmlands of several residents of Tuwi Meuleusong Village in Seunagan Timur Subdistrict, Nagan Raya District, Aceh Province, on early Sunday.

The aggressive elephant also destroyed a house of a transmigrant in Ketubung Tunong Village, Seunagan Timur Subdistrict, but this human-wildlife conflict did not cause casualties among villagers, Tuwi Meuleusong Village Head Arfandi said.

However, this trespassing large land mammal has terrified many residents in the two villages because it has caused them to suffer material losses owing to their damaged food crops, he said.

"Therefore, we hope the related authorities in Nagan Raya District will be able to stop the ongoing threats of such this wild elephant," Arfandi said.

ANTARA noted that over these past three years, the human-elephant conflict has become a major conservation concern in Aceh and many other elephant range provinces in Sumatra Island.

In February 2019, for instance, at least 14 herds of wild Sumatran elephants had wandered in search of food in the areas of districts such as Tamiang, Pidie, Central Aceh, Bener Meriah, and Biruen.

According to the Head of the Lhokseumawe Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Dedi Irvansyah, around four up to five herds were found wandering around the forest areas of East Aceh and Tamiang Districts.

In North Aceh District, there were three herds of these herbivorous animals, while in the districts of Central Aceh, Bener Meriah, and Bireun, about four herds of wild elephants were also observed, he stated last year.

Meanwhile, in Pidie Jaya and Pidie Districts, two herds were reportedly observed, he noted, adding that each of the herds consisted of 15 to 20 wild animals.

Three herds of wild Sumatran elephants were also found wandering in search of food in the areas of North Aceh District's Cot Girek, Matangkuli, and Langkahan Subdistricts.

A herd of these jumbo animals also went on a rampage in Negeri Antara Village, Pintu Rimbee Sub-district, Bener Meriah District, by ravaging local farmers' agricultural lands, and attacking a trained elephant named Ida.

As a result, the 40-year-old elephant's legs were wounded.

Then, in October 2019, a human-animal conflict continued in the areas of Bener Meriah District with a herd of wild Sumatran elephants destroying four houses in Pantanlah Village, Pintu Rime Gayo Subdistrict.

The houses belonged to Miswar, Agus, Ahmad, and Sulaiman, all residents of Pantalah Village, according to Head of Pintu Rime Gayo Subdistrict Edi Irwansyah Putra.

While no deaths were reported in the incident, the elephants damaged the agricultural lands of the villagers in search of food.

The human-wildlife conflicts that repeatedly occur in Aceh are not only between local villagers and Sumatran elephants but, in certain areas, also between villagers and tigers.

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Translator: Teuku DI, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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