20 Sep

World Nature Conservation Day: Let Elephants be Elephants

World Nature Conservation day was celebrated on July 28th across the world in order to raise awareness to protecting nature and conserving our natural resources. Due to the rapid development process is putting pressure on the natural resources like air, water, forests, wildlife, fossil fuels & minerals, so that Nature Conservation management is the best way to  manage and utilize the natural resources.

 

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Group photo session in Creative Friday Discussion, Let Elephants be Elephants

 

Forestry Education Commission of IFSA LC UGM held Creative Friday Discussion (CIRCUS) with following theme “Let Elephants be Elephants”. This is the way we celebrate World Nature Conservation Day to challenge youth participation in increasing awareness of elephant conservation.

There are two great speakers, Mr. Alexander Markus Mossbrucker, founder of Sumatran Elephant Conservation Initiative (SECI) and Mr. Hari Palguna, consultant and culture expert in GembiraLoka Zoo, Yogyakarta. Mr. Mossbrucker as the first speaker shared his experiences about elephant conservation in Sumatra and what he and his foundation has been done in conserving elephant. Mr. Palguna as the second speaker explained about elephant ex-situ conservation that has been done in GembiraLoka Zoo.

World Wide Foundation (WWF) said that elephants are the largest land mammals. African elephant and Asian elephant are two species that has been recognized well by people. There are three sub-species of Asian elephant, Indian elephant, Sumatran elephant and Sri Lankan elephant. Indian elephant has the widest range and total number in Asia. Sri Lankan elephant is physically the largest of the sub-species, and has the darkest color. Sumatran is the smallest sub-species that live in Sumatra, Indonesia.

 

Asian Elephant (Source: pixabay.com)

 

Sumatran elephant (Elephasmaximus sumatranus) has been classified as critically endangered by International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The population of this species has declined by at least 80% over the last 3 generations, estimated to stand alive about 75 years. Decreasing elephant population largely due to the massive ivory trade. While some populations are now stable and growing, conflict and habitat destruction continue to threaten the elephants.

They are also has a critical role in maintaining the region’s forests. In ecosystem, elephant has function for seed dispersal, ecosystem engineer, and flagship species as it is popular and charismatic species that play role as symbol and rallying points to stimulate conservation awareness and action. Saving elephant means save the whole balance in ecosystem.

 

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Mr. Mossbrucker shared his experience about conserving Elephant in Sumatra

 

Mr. Mossbrucker said “Why we hard to find elephant in Sumatra? It is because of forest degradation, land clearing for pulp and paper production, and mine coal”. Poacher who killed elephant to get ivory, be responsible for decreasing elephant population in Sumatra.

Why we hard to find elephant in Sumatra? It is because of forest degradation, land clearing for pulp and paper production, and mine coal

– Mr. Mossbrucker

Conflict between elephant and local community has gone further and caused the decreasing of elephant population. The best way to conserve elephant in nature is through habitat protection and good land use planning.

 

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Mr. Palguna explained about ex-situ conservation in GembiraLoka Zoo

 

In GembiraLoka Zoo, Mr. Palguna imitated elephants’ habitat by implementing stable environment and providing all elephants need as in their natural habitat. Ex-situ conservation has to carry out together with conservation in their real habitat. GembiraLoka Zoo has function for education and research. Visitors can learn about elephant activities and do interaction with the elephant.

By knowing more about elephant and getting close to wildlife, they will realize how important to save elephants’ life 🙂

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