Fri, 12 Aug 1994

Lampung asks for govt's nod to `export' elephants

JAKARTA (JP): The southern Sumatra province of Lampung has asked the central government for permission to resettle some of its elephants elsewhere in Indonesia because of increasing attacks by the beasts on villages and towns, which often resulted in loss of life.

Head of the provincial environmental office, Nawawi, said in Bandar Lampung that the elephant population in Lampung continues to rise each year while their natural habitat shrinks as land is being appropriated for residential and industrial purposes, the Antara news agency reported yesterday.

Nawawi said 14 people have been trampled to death since 1993 during elephant raids on various villages in the province.

The elephant stampedes, one herd could consist of up to 72 elephants, also caused extensive damage to houses, rice fields and plantations in the province, he said.

The population of elephants, a protected species, in Lampung is estimated at more than 1,000, and only 400 of them live in national parks.

Nawawi said the number increases by up to 50 each year.

The province has taken various measures to protect the animal, including herding the wild elephants into national parks and conducting courses to domesticate the animal.

The PLG Way Kambas elephant school in Lampung however is now on the verge of closing because of shortages of funds. The school has already domesticated 80 elephants which have been sent to zoos, safari parks and circus teams. (emb)