Bengkulu, Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Bengkulu`s Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) has asked the Forestry Ministry for permission to widen the wildlife corridor connecting the Seblat Elephant Training Center with the Kerinci Seblat National Park.

"If the corridor is is not widened soon, I`m afraid the Lebong Kandis limited production forest and reserve area will be destroyed by forest trampling activity," the head of Bengkulu`s BKSDA, Amon Zamora, said here Tuesday.

According to Amon, the wildlife corridor was essential to accommodate the movement of elephants from the elephant training center to the Kerinci Seblat National Park without trespassing plantations of local residents.

However, around 500 families were reported to have opened land in the reserve area of the wildlife corridor, Amon said, adding that they even had land certificates.

The Seblat Elephant Training Center forest, located in Putri Hijau SuB-district, North Bengkulu District, was expanded from 6,800 ha to 18,503 as the the wildlife corridor covers 11,638 hectares, Amon said.

According to a 2004 survey, 90 percent of Sumatran wildlife live in the Seblat Elepahant Training Center area, he said.

Some rare animals such as ranggong, siamang, kuwau bird, some primate species, and tapir live in Seblat and need to be preserved, Amon said.

Meanwhile, another official of Bengkulu`s BKSDA, Supartono. said the status change of the elephant training center forest and the wildlife corridor had been proposed since 2007.

However, the proposal was ignored while wildlife in Seblat were losing their habitat, he said.

The status and the functional improvement of the wildlife area was expected to be realized in 2011 so that the population of the wild elephants and other wildlife in the area would be preserved and conflicts with humans prevented, he said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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