The Jakarta Post
The delegation of the EU to Indonesia has adopted Aras, a young elephant from the Leuser ecosystem area, as its environmental conservation mascot.
The adoption of Aras is aimed at creating public awareness of the importance of environmental conservation to handle climate change, following European Climate Diplomacy Day on Wednesday.
'We adopted young Aras less than two weeks before his seventh birthday. This symbolizes efforts of stakeholders to make the Aras Napal elephant patrol unit (UPG) a success story,' the delegation's head of cooperation, Franck Viault, said in a statement on Wednesday.
'This is an acknowledgment of the importance of a project still able to produce new hopes even though it expired a long time ago,' he said.
The adoption of Aras, Viault said, also showed that well-spent investment and the hard work of various parties, including UPG elephant tamers who had dedicated their lives to safeguard and work with one elephant each, could become a positive inheritance for future generations amid ongoing destructive and selfish activities.
The establishment of UPG Aras Napal is part of the EU's Leuser Development Program (LDP), which ran from 1997 to 2004 in support of the ecosystem's long-term conservation and sustainable development in its surrounding areas.
In 2000, LDP established UPG Aras Napal in the Leuser ecosystem in North Sumatra.
Under the UPG program, LDP brought in trained elephants from southern Sumatra to be included in efforts to monitor and protect the eastern part of the Leuser ecosystem area and areas near the Aras Napal forests.
UPG aims to reduce human - wildlife conflicts and carry out surveillance in forest areas to prevent destructive activities such as deforestation, illegal logging and poaching.
UPG has three adult elephants, namely Aini, Dion and Tanti. Tanti gave birth to Aras on June 29, 2008. (ebf)(+++)
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