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Jakarta Post

Wild animals flee to Karo hamlet from deforested Bukit Barisan

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Karo, North Sumatra   /   Wed, November 28, 2018   /   03:29 pm
Wild animals flee to Karo hamlet from deforested Bukit Barisan Sumatran orangutan (Shutterstock/File)

Residents living near Mount Sinabung in Karo, North Sumatra, have seen a rise in the number of orangutans and other wild animals that have entered their villages in the past few months, ever since the mountain started to show a decrease in volcanic activity.

Just recently, residents of Lau Kawar hamlet, about 10 kilometers from the mountain, found a baby orangutan in the Lau Biang River in Kutabuluh district, when they were fishing. The male orangutan, estimated to be 1 year old, was sitting alone on a river stone.

The orangutan was then captured by the residents and taken to a resident’s house in Kutabuluh.

“This is the first time in decades I have seen many orangutans roaming around villages like this,” said local resident Pelin Depari. In addition to the orangutans, he said villagers had also encountered other animals such as deer and wild goats.

A young orangutan currently under the care of villagers eats near the Lau Biang River in Karo, North Sumatra.A young orangutan currently under the care of villagers eats near the Lau Biang River in Karo, North Sumatra. (Courtesy of Kutabuluh residents/-)

A local monitoring station recorded that Mount Sinabung had decreased volcanic activity since June, with no incident of eruption.

Panut Hadisiswoyo from the Orangutan Information Center said the wild animals entered the villages because they lost their natural habitat due to illegal logging and rampant deforestation in the nearby Bukit Barisan mountain range in the regency.

“The forests are now barren, which is why the animals left the habitat and found other food sources in villages,” said Panut.

Pelin said that locals recently caught a 60-kilogram deer near their homes. The deer was then slaughtered and cooked to be eaten with other villagers. Other animals that were caught were sold at the market.

“I sold a deer and a wild goat to a buyer in Berastagi [in Karo],” Pelin said. Each animal was sold for Rp 4 million (US$275.5). (vny)