More Than 100 Elephants Died in Riau Since 2004: WWF | WWF Indonesia

More Than 100 Elephants Died in Riau Since 2004: WWF

Posted on 04 June 2013   |  
Riau, Sumatra, June 4, 2013. WWF-Indonesia database shows that more than 100 sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) died in Riau, Province of Sumatra, since 2004. Meanwhile 15 elephants found dead in 2012 only.
This number keeps escalating. On May 31, 2013, WWF-Indonesia GPS collar installation team found two more elephants dead in Tesso Nilo area; a carcass of an adult male elephant was found in Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) concession area Ukui Sector which is overlapped with Tesso Nilo National Park area and the other wasa carcass of an adult female elephant found inside the boudary of Tesso Nilo National Park. The team estimated that they have died for three or four days before being found and suspected unnatural death was due to poisoning. 
Previously, on May 6, 2013, WWF-Indonesia monitoring team found a carcass of male elephant without tusks in RAPP concession Baserah Sector, Tesso Nilo area. A detergent plastic packaging was found inside its intestine which suspected contained poison. 
Although related institutions, including Natural Resource Conservation Agency of Riau Province and Pelalawan Region Farming Office, had deployed autopsy team to follow up WWF report on elephant deaths, real action is still yet to be conducted towards these incidents beyond just  securing tusks of the male elephant found in Ukui Sector. 
"Every finding of unnatural death of protected animal should be responded immediately action by the authority such as thorough investigations and when applicable prosecution. The unnatural death of every individual of key species like Sumatran elephant should be consideredas the loss of state’s assets, especially the Sumatran elephantthat is already in its critical condition due to human pressures and neglect,” said Sunarto, Species Expert of WWF-Indonesia. 
WWF-Indonesia urges Ministry of Forestry to enforce the law on elephant deaths in Riau as stated by Minister of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan, several times, including during his visit to Tesso Nilo National Park on February 8, 2013. The Minister even stated to publish a competition and to give award for those who report on elephant killer. 
“The massiveamount of elephant deaths indicatesthat the government has not handle these cases seriously. Real actions are needed in the field in order to give detterent effect and to prevent elephant death in the future,” said Anwar Purwoto, Director of Forest, Freshwater and Terrestrial Species of WWF-Indonesia. 
In Sumatra, elephant condition is devastating. No less than 29 elephants died in Riau, Aceh and Lampung provinces in 2012. In Aceh alone, 14 elephant deaths were recorded in regions of Aceh Jaya, South Aceh, West Aceh, East Aceh, North Aceh and Bireuen. WWF-Indonesia recent study shows that in the last 25 years, sumatran elephants have lost 70% of their habitats as well as declining population for more than a half. Sumatran elephant population estimation in 2007 was 2400-2800 individuals. 
For further information, please contact:

Sunarto, WWF-Indonesia Elephant and Tiger Conservation Coordinator,
Email:, mobile: +628119950521.

Syamsidar, Communication Officer WWF Riau,
Email:, mobile: +628126896095.
Diah Sulistiowati, Communication Coordinator FFS Program WWF-Indonesia,
Email:, mobile: +628111004397.
Note for Editor:

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About WWF-Indonesia
WWF-Indonesia is the largest natural conservation organization in Indonesia. It started its activity since 1962 and become an Indonesian foundation since 1998. Currently, WWF-Indonesia works in 28 regional offices with 400 staffs througout Indonesia. Since 2006, WWF-Indonesia has been supported by 54 thousands supporters from all over Indonesia. For further information, please visit


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