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Establishment of Elephant Response Unit in BBSNP

In early 2020 the Taman Nasional Bukit Barisan Selatan-BBSNP agency decided to establish an Elephant Response Unit in order to better address HEC and forest protection following the successful example of the WKNP-ERU program. By request of the National Park agency, KHS/CSNC supported the establishment of a new Elephant Response Unit (ERU) on the western border of the BBSNP during the period of March – July 2020.

KHS/CSNC provided operational support and training through senior team members from the WKNP- ERU program during the period from March – July 2020, which enabled the establishment and operation of a new ERU unit at the BBSNP in West Lampung province. The new staff received basic training in all skills for captive elephant care and management, Human-Elephant Conflict mitigation, and forest patrols. The local communities welcomed the establishment of the new ERU which provides employment for some community members and will greatly contribute to preventing HEC in this area.

The support provided laid the first foundation for the ERU to become a new effective tool for peaceful coexistence between local communities and elephants by working together for sustainable livelihoods, forest and wildlife conservation, and animal welfare. While the first steps in the right direction were done through this initial support, in order to reliably implement and further develop this program in the long term the BBSNP will most likely depend on a longer term collaboration with the Way Kambas – ERU program and KHS/CSNC for technical guidance and supervision, as well as for some funding support for equipment and advanced operational costs.

The BBSNP has expressed its appreciation for the provided support and has already approached KHS/CSNC and the WK-ERU program about an ongoing collaboration for long term support of the BBSNP-ERU operation. In order to continue the collaboration with the BBSNP for ongoing support of the BBSNP-ERU, KHS/CSNC needs additional funding and currently applies to various donors for funding support for this project.

First training patrols of the new BBS – ERU team. Photo: KHS/CSNC

The WK-ERU team members together with the new BBS-ERU team resting inside forest aera during a several days lasting wild elephant drive (left) and inspecting a hut destroyed by wild elephant during crop raiding in community farm land (right). Photo: KHS/CSNC

Approaching wild sedated elephants to fit satellite GPS collars on them, in order to be able to monitor the wild elephant groups movements after having been driven back into the BBS national park. Photo: KHS/CSNC

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