Fri, 11 Apr 2003

300 elephants killed in national park

JAKARTA: Three hundred elephants have been killed since 1993 in the South Bukit Barisan National Park in Lampung, and three tons of their tusks have been sold, according to a report released on Thursday that portrays uncontrolled poaching in the province.

The crime unit of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Indonesia suspects that hundreds of tigers and dozens of rhinos in the national park have also been poached since 1993.

"This (poaching) is the work of organized criminals," said Harry Alexander of the society.

He said that last month alone, a joint operation between the police and the society's rhino protection unit led to the arrest of three groups of hunters specializing in elephants, tigers and rhinos. They were arrested in the regencies of Tanggamus and West Lampung.

The unit's supervisor, Arif Rubianto, said that prices for the poached creatures had increased over the last few years, signaling that the supply of the endangered animals was dropping. --JP