"We in fact don`t have a special budget for this, but people who become victims in conflicts with wild animals, deserve compensation," Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said here Wednesday after visiting the Elephant Training Center at Way Kambas National park, eastern Lampung, southern Sumatra.
The number of conflicts between Sumatran elephants (elephas maximus sumatraensis) and local residents has increased lately.
In 2010, there were a total of 100 conflicts involving herds of 5-35 elephants.
This year, there have been 17 conflicts, excluding successful efforts to drive away wild elephants back to their habitat at the national parks.
Ahmad Suyudi, the head of Banjar Asri Village, which is located next to the Way Kambas National Park (TNWK), said his village`s residents have suffered huge losses because elephants often eat up their crops.
According to date from an integrated team to handle the human-elephant conflicts in East Lampung district, around 174 hectares of farming areas located at 22 villages surrounding TNWK, were destroyed by elephants in 2010, inflicting material losses worth Rp2.61 billion.
The 125,000-ha TNWK is a home for around 200-250 elephants.
The forestry ministry`s Director General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation Darori said the ministry has various efforts to deal with the human and wild animal conflicts on Sumatra Island.