The Jakarta Post
A female wild elephant has given birth to a calf in the Balai Raja Wildlife Reserve in Pinggir district, Bengkalis regency in Riau province, giving fresh hope for the endangered species’ declining population.
The Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) estimated that the 40-year-old female elephant, named Seruni, gave birth to her calf sometime last week. Personnel of nonprofit conservation group Rimba Satwa Foundation (RSF) first found small elephant footprints four days ago.
“After we tracked them, we discovered they were the footprints of Seruni’s calf. Last week, observations showed that she was still pregnant,” agency spokesperson Dian Indriati said on Wednesday.
The birth of the calf was a breath of fresh air as the species is endangered. Balai Raja Wildlife Reserve is one of the natural habitats of Sumatran elephants in Riau.
RSF coordinator Zulhusni Syukri also welcomed the birth of the calf, saying “It was such great news for elephant conservation efforts.”
Seruni was lost in Dumai city several months ago, he said. The group’s members had been conducting patrols to monitor elephant herds and prevent them from getting into conflicts with humans.
Dian said Seruni was among around 35 wild elephants living in Balai Raja Wildlife Reserve.
There is no up-to-date data on the elephant population in Riau yet, Dian added. However, according to Riau BKSDA’s observations and calculations together with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in 2009 there were around 330 to 340 elephants living in the nine elephant population areas in the province. (rin)