By Fidelis E. Satriastanti
The brutal killing of Geng, a male Sumatran elephant, is still fresh in my mind. The case made this year’s World Elephant Day relevant to address many threats clouding the existence of this species in Indonesia.
Last month, the country was shocked over the killing of the 22-year-old male Sumatran elephant in Rantau Sabon village, in Aceh Jaya district. Geng was found in a very devastated condition with its trunk cut off, eyes chopped off, head badly damaged, and missing tusks. There were spears marks in its skull prodding for intended slaughtering of people wanted its tusks.
It did not take long for the case to spark attention – if not anger – from activists and animal lovers, through social media, pushing the Indonesian government to investigate and arrests whoever responsible for the killing.
The case received special attentions from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan who reacted through their personal Twitter accounts. President Yudhoyono slammed the killing as an “irresponsible action” during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and instructed officials to arrest the culprit. He also hoped it will not happen again in the future.
Zulkifli, meanwhile, put out a much more encouraging statement on his Twitter account promising that they would get people behind the killing within a week. In the latest development, Zulkifli indicated that village officials were allegedly involved in the killing. The case is still now being handled by the Forestry Ministry and Riau police.
In December 2011, Sumatran elephants, one of Asian elephants found in Indonesia beside the Borneo pygmy elephant, are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. More....