On the afternoon of the 8th of August, a personnel from the military headquarters on the district level at in Aceh Timur District reported via phone to the FKL’s Elephant Protection Team (EPT) that based on his observation in the edge of the forest bordering community plantations that a sun bear cub is caught on a snare. The EPT tries to get as much crucial information as they can, and later in the day they coordinated with the Regional office of FKL in Langsa, as well as the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency and CRU Serbajadi to form a team to respond and treat the sun bear. We could not go directly to the location because another team was still on assignment elsewhere. After careful planning based on the information received, the team are ready to set out on another journey after dawn to save the sun bear.
The next morning, the team readied all the equipments needed and drove for about 2 hours to reach the destination where the poor cub is caught by a snare. After observations of the surrounding area to make sure that no other snares are active, that was when one of the team notices that the cub’s mother was monitoring nearby. The mother is faithfully waiting and certainly hopes that someone will come to save her child. In some cases we found that animals had died when the team arrived. Luckily the bear cub is still alive, although continues struggling to get away from the snares and of course with extreme pain. If the perpetrators of the snares saw their own children being tortured like this, of course they would not have the heart to kill animals this way. Our veterinarian fell silent for a moment seeing this cruelty, and this work began to be done with the heart to save this weak animal.
The cub itself has been struggling for days trying to break free and team senses how much pain the cub is going through. Nervously and meticulously, the team quickly set free the sun bear cub and gave the treatment it needs. Luckily, the wound from the snare was not very deep and after an hour of treatment, the team deems the cub can be released back in the wild immediately. The cub relieved to be set free, gleefully ran towards its mother. Soon, they have left the area and entered back into the forest.
Although the team saw with their own eyes that the cub joined its mother, after discussion they come to an agreement that part of the team should monitor the area where the cub was caught by a snare just to be more sure that there are no side effects from the medication, or that the cub did not get caught on another snare. The EPT headed out to the same place the next day, and for a couple hours monitored the area looking for tracks and evidence that the cub and its mother is safe and sound. After hours of monitoring the area, a member of the EPT saw in the distance that the cub is with its mother, and is safely roaming in the forest. EPT reported back to the main team, now feeling more reassured for another successful rescue
We believe this effort is not in vain. We realize this work is very heavy and sometimes considered strange work, but with great support from many parties we believe it will be stronger to save Leuser and the forests of Aceh, because this is our contribution to the world.