The Jakarta Post
Nicholas Saputra (from left to right) Wahdi Azmi, and Vincent Guérend pose for a photograph during the Save Our Forest Giants documentary launch in Jakarta on Sunday. (JP/Masajeng Rahmiasri)
The Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Indonesia on Sunday launched Save Our Forest Giants, a short documentary to raise awareness of the looming extinction of elephants.
The documentary focuses on the life of elephants in the Gunung Leuser National Park, North Sumatra, highlighting current problems that have led to the decline in the elephant population. Indonesian actor Nicholas Saputra took part in the film.
In Tangkahan, a small village on the border the national park that specializes in eco activities, Nicholas met with a mahout (elephant tamer) and a senior vet in charge of elephant health and interacted with a small elephant tribe that had been relocated to a Tangkahan conservation area after the group intruded into a local oil palm plantation.
While people and elephants struggle to coexist in North Sumatra, the prevalence of the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Viruses (EEHV) only adds to the problem. The EEHV is a variant of herpes virus that affects animals and is capable of killing a young elephant in 1-2 days. There is still no vaccine for the disease, explained Wahdi Azmi, a member of the Conservation Response Unit Tangkahan.
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“I’ve seen so many issues, problems, challenges that the environment has to face. I think it’s my responsibility to share the awareness,” said Nicholas, who first visited the Gunung Leuser National Park in 2005.
Vincent Guérend, the EU Ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam emphasized the importance of being mindful of our daily habits, explaining that this also plays a big part in nature conservation, “It is really important to be aware that there is no free ride here. You can’t live your own life without caring for others,” he said.
In 2015, The Delegation of the European Union to Indonesia adopted two elephants in the Gunung Leuser National Park named Aras and Eropa. Both elephants continue to live in Tangkahan and have become EU mascots. (asw)
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