Human Wildlife Conflict

Human-wildlife conflicts, mostly human-elephant conflict, is an occurring incident every year in Aceh, mostly due to conversion of key habitat areas to plantations either with government permissions or illegally. The result of human-wildlife conflicts negatively impact both sides. Human, mostly local communities or companies, have their crops, houses damaged and living in fear. Wildlife on the other side, can lead to severe injuries or death due to traps and poisons that are set by humans.

Aceh Timur is a district in the Leuser Ecosystem where human-elephant conflict is rampant. Lowland forests of Aceh Timur is a migration route of many elephant groups, but it is also a fertile land for communities to grow crops and conduct illegal logging activities. However, the district government are adamant that the conflicts can be stopped. The district government has collaborated with FKL to construct barriers in the form of trenches, and plant crops that elephants dislike around it to disincentivise elephants passing through. FKL also continues to support a BSKDA Aceh initiative to build a Conservation Response Unit (CRU) in Serbajadi, and formed an Elephant Protection Team (EPT) to collect data on migration route, socialise to communities, mitigate impact from human-wildlife conflicts, and rescue wildlife caught in snares.

In 2019, a coalition team of BKSDA Aceh, CRU Serbajadi, and FKL rescued 2 elephants (including one baby elephant), and one sunbear, all were caught by snares that were set. Aside from the baby elephant, Salma, that unfortunately died recently, for the other elephant and sunbear, the team release back to the wild after receiving treatment. Our dedicated team on the ground works tirelessly to reduce the human-wildlife conflict incidents, and ensure that both human and wildlife will not receive negative impacts.

Human-wildlife conflict, especially elephants, happens very often in the Leuser Ecosystem as a result to misuse of lands. (Credit: Junaidi Hanafiah)