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Jakarta Post

Lend a helping trunk: Tamed elephants deployed to protect PLN towers in Aceh

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, November 11, 2019   /   10:38 am
Lend a helping trunk: Tamed elephants deployed to protect PLN towers in Aceh State electricity company PLN is using tamed elephants to keep fellow members of their species, as well as other wild animals, from damaging transmission towers. (PLN/Handout)

Amid ongoing efforts to secure electricity transmission lines around the country, state electricity giant PLN has employed a rather unorthodox strategy in Aceh.

The company is using tamed elephants to keep fellow members of their species, as well as other wild animals, from damaging transmission towers.

PLN’s operations team in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh has tasked a couple of tamed elephants, named Mega and Bidok, with guarding transmission towers in the region following reports of wild elephants brushing against surrounding power infrastructure.

“[Such behavior] will not only damage the transmission towers, but it could also harm the wild elephants themselves,” PLN spokesman Dwi Suryo Abdullah said in a statement on Sunday.

Mega and Bidok had been trained and treated with care, Dwi added.

The two elephants had previously been groomed by local trainers Dian and Jufri Susanto for the assignment since 2015. They have helped PLN ward off wild elephants since last year.

PLN previously enlisted the help of the Indonesian Military (TNI) to safeguard its Java-Bali 500-kilovolt overhead transmission line in the wake of a disruption that triggered a mass blackout that affected Greater Jakarta and West Java on Aug. 4.

According to the company’s assessment, the 500-kv transmission line in Pemalang, Central Java, was particularly vulnerable to disturbances since it was situated near trees that were more than 9 meters tall. One of the trees was blamed for a transmission line short-circuit, leading to the major power outage in August. (rfa)