"Dejavato recently started the volunteer program for wildlife conservation."
Bengkulu (ANTARA News) - Five foreign students from different countries are learning to care for the Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatrae) at the Seblat Elephant Conservation Centre in North Bengkulu, Bengkulu province.

The coordinator of Elephant Conservation Centre (PKG), Erni Suyanti, stated here on Wednesday that the foreign students were part of a wildlife conservation program of Dejavato, a volunteer-based organization in Semarang, Central Java province.

"Dejavato recently started the volunteer program for wildlife conservation and PKG Seblat is the only site recommended," she said.

Erni added that the volunteers were from France, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Belgium.

The organization does not recruit students and professionals from abroad only; it also accepts Indonesian volunteers.

"In addition to the six foreign students, there are two Indonesian students who want to work and learn together," Erni said.

For seven days in PKG Seblat, the foreign students will study how the elephant tamer, or mahout, takes care of the elephants.

They will also assist the mahout in feeding, bathing and other activities revolving around the 19 elephants in PKG Seblat.

"They are also taking care of Bona, a two-year-old elephant calf, which is still feeding on milk," Erni added.

The present batch of students is the third since the conservation program began. In July 2012, PKG Seblat will receive the next group of volunteers.

In addition to learning how to care for elephants, the foreign students also provide foreign language courses for PKG Seblat staff.

Erni said such courses would particularly benefit the forest police and PKG Seblat mahout.

"We are targeting this area as one of the ecotourism areas in Bengkulu, so foreign language skills will be necessary for the mahout and forest police," she added.

The present batch of the foreign students would also indirectly promote PKG Seblat as a conservation area for endangered wildlife.

After they return to their respective countries, they will prepare a report about conservation programs in Indonesia, including the one in PKG Seblat.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2012