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Human Elephant Coexistence

13 Agustus 2017   20:53 Diperbarui: 13 Agustus 2017   21:10 417 0 0
Human Elephant Coexistence
(Picture: Balai Raja's elephant group in action (@Yansen Gultom)

The biggest issues Sumatran elephant are overlap with community activities. In many places in Sumatra, 80-90% of Sumatran elephant habitat has been co-opted by the natural resource companies and the community, so human-elephant conflict is inevitable and into access groups for the purpose of ivory poaching. Balai Raja - Riau Province is an elephant habitat area since past. Massive forest clearing occurred and resulted in almost the entire forest as the elephant habitat lost by oil fields, gardens and settlements (forest remaining about 150 ha only). 

Conflicts occur nearly every day with the elephants and cause loss of life on both sides. Balai Raja picture is representative of the many places in Sumatra are currently degraded natural forests and wildlife, especially elephants conflicts with the community. This conflict caused by the elephants entered into settlements, community gardens or go into a residential complex of oil and raised the people's resistance to the elephants. 

This resistance can cause the elephants or humans were injured or died. The term conflict also occurs when the elephants go to the community garden and orchard damage or destroy your home or farm. If the estimate, the loss of the community is great if done in groups and destroy the gardens or fields at large, or small losses because only eat specific plants. 

Conflict mitigation

Many ways people do to reduce conflict. The use of elephant trenches, electric fencing (wire with shock currents), using chili (chili fencing), use domesticated elephants to repel and convoy the wild elephant (such as the flying squad in Riau), or cannon carbide or firewall. 

This practical techniques were used by companies and the communities across Sumatra. There is also the way an elephant relocation to a safe location, but this technique was abandoned because of the risk of the wild elephant deaths and no more locations to place safely except domesticated elephants. The bottom line is forcing elephant conflict mitigation breakaway on people's lives and reduce human losses. This elephant is generally used as a pest, like a wild boar or other pests.Elephant trench called static physical barrier, electric fencing or chili as psychology barrier fencing is static, carbide canon or firewall and use of domesticated elephants are the dynamically psychology barrier. 

Throughout this manner in few specific places indeed reduce conflict. But the drawback of this technique are many, such as elephants trench and electric fencing maintenance is expensive and must be able to maintain the discipline of this thing. Chile fencing is cheap and does not need to be maintained in detail, but not necessarily effective because of rain fade chili materials or based on research literature that this technique can not be used for Sumatran elephants.

Holistic VS Anthropocentric

Human - elephant conflict mitigation techniques can be said as a form of human anthropocentric against elephants. An approach to elephant is how the elephants can organize his life to the people so that the conflict is reduced. Like the elephant asked to stop at a red light and when the green light, they have to walk, but elephants do not know the rules or will not agree to the rules of man-made unilaterally.How such a holistic way? That is the approach of win-win solution (elephants or humans do not feel defeated), aligned to both, humans also need to set yourself and not just elephants that in fact the ancestors on the land. 

Picture: A survey of habitat prevention in Balai Raja (2013) by BBKSDA Riau and WWF Indonesia
Picture: A survey of habitat prevention in Balai Raja (2013) by BBKSDA Riau and WWF Indonesia

This holistic approach combines human needs and the needs of elephants and speaking division of space in a niche and the management both in their respective niche.This holistic mode can encourage the acceptance of elephants on humans and human acceptance of elephants. The community can set himself with no roaming elephants expansive area, using a certain room space for the purpose of ensuring that the needs of elephants and reduce the use of plants of economic value but is preferably an elephant. The end of result is a human-elephant coexistence.


Coexistence elephant man requires the values of the division of space and meeting the needs of an elephant and a human naturally can occur and does not harm between them. Coexistence occurs when elephants and humans accept both life naturally and tried to share and encourage mutualism. On various occasions, Balai Raja example, they plant bananas in its oil fields, or plant a watermelon and then given to the elephants and elephant rescue efforts in a variety of occasions. 

Although the disorder is still a lot going on, some groups in the community due to often impacted by conflict, eventually they adapt and seek coexistence. In case of serious is that people can encourage the development of habitat or elephant corridors through enriching for feed plants and setting the location of settlements and cottage gardens.Locations as the elephant corridor and for coaching habitat is the main goal of elephants to meet their needs. This location is the ultimate destination when people use the technique of driving elephants expulsion or to reduce conflict, so as to avoid a new conflict if expulsion.