The Jakarta Post
Actor Chicco Jerikho hugs one of the elephants in the Way Kambas National Park in Lampung. (www.instagram.com/chicco.jerikho//File)
Actor Chicco Jerikho is set to conduct a fundraising campaign for the preservation of the Sumatran elephant during his first-ever participation in the London Marathon on April 22.
According to tempo.co, Chicco is inviting the public to donate Rp 100,000 through the Elephantastic Run campaign website until April 23, with all proceeds to go to the conservation program. Registered participants can either run or walk a minimum distance of 5 kilometers anytime, anywhere from April 21 to 23.
Cities included in the Elephantastic Run, which is where the public can join the campaign, are Pekanbaru in Riau on April 15, and Jakarta, Banda Aceh in Aceh and Surabaya in East Java on April 22.
The Sumatran elephant population in Riau has sharply declined from 1,300 in 1984 to only 300 to 330 in 2009, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia and the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA).
Hunting and land conversion are among the serious threats faced by this animal in almost all of its habitats. In the Peusangan river area (DAS) in Aceh, for instance, the number of elephant-human conflicts incident has reached 10 to 20 a month. Between 1999 and 2015, up to 64 of such conflicts were recorded around the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, particularly in West Pesisir and Tanggamus regencies of Lampung.
Sharing the space is a must to prevent conflicts between elephants and humans. One of the solutions is to plant food for the animals around their habitat forest areas as well as planting plants disliked by the elephants as natural fences to prevent them from entering residential areas.
Chicco visited Aceh last year to check the condition of the Sumatran elephants and discuss the importance of achieving a balance between elephants and humans in the forest ecosystem. He recently also visited the Way Kambas National Park in Lampung, where he met Erin, an elephant that lost the tip of its trunk in a hunter's snare.
"Visiting Erin, whose condition is starting to get better," read a post on his Instagram account, alongside a photo of him with the small animal. "Thank God, Erin has started to eat on her own, though she has to work hard to reach the food that was put below her. [...] Hopefully, there will be no more elephants [that have to go through what] Erin went through. Humans can live side by side and share a space with the elephants in harmony." (kes)