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Jakarta Post

Young elephant dies at Tesso Nilo National Park

  • Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Pekanbaru   /   Tue, November 24, 2015   /  08:16 pm
Young elephant dies at Tesso Nilo National Park Great loss: A mahout examines the corpse of a baby elephant who was part of a team of tame elephants in Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau, dubbed the Flying Squad. The elephant, named Tino, was found dead on Friday morning. (Courtesy of WWF-Indonesia)

Great loss: A mahout examines the corpse of a baby elephant who was part of a team of tame elephants in Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau, dubbed the Flying Squad. The elephant, named Tino, was found dead on Friday morning. (Courtesy of WWF-Indonesia)

The Flying Squad, a team of tame elephants and their mahouts, managed jointly by the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Tesso Nilo National Park (TNTN) Agency and the WWF-Indonesia'€™s Riau program, has lost another of its members after Tino, a 2-year-old female elephant, was found dead in the national park on Friday morning.

Erwin Daulay, the elephant'€™s caregiver, was scheduled to take Tino and her mother Ria to a bathing site when he found the young elephant'€™s body.

'€œErwin found Tino with her head in the dirt, around 10 meters from where Ria was tied up. She had continued to look at her baby elephant,'€ WWF-Indonesia'€™s Riau program spokesperson Samsidar said on Tuesday.

Samsidar said that one day before Tino died, the elephant was observed participating actively in all of the Flying Squad'€™s normal routines. '€œShe was very active, swimming and diving with all the elephants in the Flying Squad team when they took a bath together in the Perbekalan River in the Tesso Nilo National Park area.'€

Tino was the fourth baby elephant born to a Flying Squad member. Mahouts at the WWF'€™s Riau program camp in Lubuk Kembang Bunga village, Pelalawan regency, Riau, named her Tino, taken from betino, which means '€œwoman with a calm demeanor'€ in the area'€™s local language.

After Erwin reported the discovery, the Pelalawan administration'€™s animal husbandry agency'€™s veterinarian, Muchlisin, conducted an autopsy at the location.

'€œThe autopsy took place until midnight on Friday and it ran a bit slowly due to rain,'€ said Samsidar.

She denied accusations that WWF-Indonesia had stalled the publication of information on the incident for four days as it occurred in a conservation area.

'€œInitially, we wanted to publish this case on Sunday morning but we had to first wait for the TNTN head'€™s approval for the publication as it is under the [TNTN] agency'€™s authority,'€ said Samsidar.

She said some of the elephant'€™s internal organs had been sent to a laboratory at the Veterinary Agency in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, to ascertain the cause of death. '€œUsually, the results of laboratory tests are available in around two weeks,'€ she added.

Meanwhile, Muchlisin said he did not find any indications of violence on Tino'€™s body. '€œBut there was a red rash, which could have been caused by accumulating gas or bloating in her intestines. There are many factors that could cause such a condition, one of which is the consumption of too much young grass,'€ he said.

TNTN head Tandya Tjahjana said he had assigned civil servant investigators to the case. '€œThey have traced areas around the location where she was found dead to see whether there is a particular situation that could danger elephants in the area,'€ said Tandya.

The BKSDA Riau'€™s technical affairs division head, Lukita Awang Nistyantara, said it was the second time the Flying Squad had lost a young elephant this year. '€œIn May, a baby elephant named Nela was found dead in the national park area,'€ said Lukita.

'€œThis should be a valuable lesson for us that the challenges of conservation efforts, including in protecting the lives of elephants in Sumatra, remain very high.'€ (ebf)

 

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