Rizal Harahap, Pekanbaru – The Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Riau) is putting GPS collars on a herd of wild elephants in Riau for the first time in an effort to reduce conflict between animals and humans.
The herd, known as the Petapahan elephant group, was chosen because its migratory routes often intersect with residential areas. Its range includes Siak, Kampar and Pekanbaru. There are 11 elephants in the herd.
"Conflicts often happen in Bencah Kelubi village, Karya Indah and other areas," said BKSDA Riau head Suharyono.
A joint team comprising officials from BKSDA Riau, Tesso Nillo National Park Foundation, Leuser Conservation Forum and volunteers worked together to attach the GPS collars.
The largest collar is worn by the largest elephant in the herd. "We installed the GPS collar so we could track their movements, and prevent them from getting closer to village areas," Suharyono said.
"BKSDA Riau has also formed a team to monitor wild elephant conflicts and work on prevention and management. This team will be in charge of guiding the elephants away from residential areas and returning them to the forest."
Suharyono also said GPS collars would be placed on elephants of another herd in Riau.
"This project is expected to help BKSDA Riau in tracking elephant groups. Hopefully, this project will run smoothly and help prevent conflicts, as well as ending illegal hunting," he said. (dpk)