The Jakarta Post
A female 75-kilogram baby elephant was born early on Tuesday at Mount Leuser National Park (TNGL) in North Sumatra, giving impetus to ongoing efforts to save the endangered species at the conservation forest.
TNGL center head Andi Basrul said the baby elephant had been born at TNGL's Conservation Response Unit (CRU) Tangkahan in Langkat regency on Tuesday at 4:30 a.m. local time by an 18-year-old elephant named Olive.
'Both the baby and the mother are in good health,' he said.
Andi, however, said the park's veterinarian was still unable to measure the baby's chest size and height as she was still under her mother's tight guard. The veterinarian, he said, would routinely monitor the health of both baby and mother.
'So far, we have found no concerning health conditions,' he said.
As of earlier this year, CRU Tangkahan, according to Andi, has six female elephants and one male. They were all initially wild elephants living in the TNGL area and were tamed after undergoing a series of training sessions beginning in 2004.
The elephants, Andi said, were used to patrol the TNGL area, especially on narrow paths unsuitable for motor vehicles. Thanks to the help of the patrol elephants, several illegal logging operations had been foiled at TNGL.
In July, a 22-year-old elephant named Yuni gave birth to a female baby elephant. The newborn elephant, which had a chest measurement of 100 centimeters and a height of 83 cm, was also born in a healthy condition.
'We are very proud to have a second baby elephant born within several months,' Andi said.
Andi said the unit was also expecting another baby to be born there within the next two weeks. He said the pregnant elephant that was expected to give birth this month was 38-year-old Agustin.
Baby elephants are generally vulnerable to disease from the time they are born until they reach 3 years of age.
CRU Tangkahan manager Edy Sunardi said the birth of the second baby elephant proved that elephants tamed at the CRU had been managed well alongside the local community. He also said that the CRU would closely monitor the health of the baby elephants to help them survive until adulthood.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Indonesia recently revealed that the elephant population in Sumatra had continued to decrease over the past decade mainly because of illegal hunting, particularly in Riau, Aceh and North Sumatra.
WCS said the population of Sumatran elephants was currently no higher than 1,000, or 69 percent lower than that of 25 years ago.
The decrease in the population of Sumatran elephants has caused the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to list the species as endangered.
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