"We drove them back into the protected forest of Genengan area because it belongs to the Sumatran elephant corridor, which covers the districts of Central Aceh, Bener Meriah, Bireuen, and Pidie Jaya," coordinator of the Karang Ampar-Bergang TPFF, Muslim, informed.
Speaking to local journalists here on Monday, he said that the herd of 25 wild Sumatran elephants wandering through the populated area damaged residents' houses and food barn.
The residents did not only suffer material losses, but also lived in fear, he said, adding that they repeatedly spotted the wild elephants wandering inside their residential area.
According to Muslim, human-elephant conflicts have occurred since 2002, but the situation has worsened over the past 10 years owing to damage to the habitats of the Sumatran elephants.
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The granting of the right to cultivate (HGU) to many parties in Bireuen district, Aceh province, for instance, has contributed to such damage. As a result, wild elephants are finding their own way to get food, he said.
"I am a farmer who depends on forest for a living. So, I do know where the areas of the elephant corridor are," Muslim said.
The granting of the right to cultivate to many parties in Bireuen has led to the disappearance of elephants' habitat in the district. This has led to elephant herds moving to Central Aceh and Bener Meriah districts, he informed.
To end the ongoing human-elephant conflict, there is a dire need for creating an essential ecosystem area or a grand forest park covering 10 thousand hectares of land in the districts of Central Aceh, Bener Meriah, and Bireuen, he added.
ANTARA has reported that in February 2019, at least 14 herds of wild Sumatran elephants were spotted wandering in search of food in the areas of districts such as Tamiang, Pidie, Central Aceh, Bener Meriah, and Biruen.
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Translator: R.Fajri, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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