[Indonesia Report] Endangered Sumatran elephant gives birth to a female baby

Ayu Rosalina, a Sumatran elephant calf born on Tuesday, stands near her mother, Susi, in Aceh Jaya, Aceh. (Photo: Reuters/Junaidi Hanafiah)

An endanger Sumatran Elephant gave birth to a female calf on early morning of Tuesday (Sept. 28) at Conservation Response Unit Sampoiniet in Aceh Jaya, Aceh.

Suci, a trained Sumatran Elephant, 20 years old, did not show any sign of labor, Wahdi Azmi, field manager for the Aceh branch of Flora & Fauna International, a conservation group, told The Jakarta Globe. That was why none of the staffs witnessing the breath taking moment.

“Yesterday, when the CRU team woke up, they were surprised to see Suci already gave birth,” Wahdi said.

The birth was out of their prediction, Wahdi said. They thought Suci was on her 44 weeks of pregnancy and elephant gestation period is usually 88 weeks or 22 months.

The baby elephant was born with weight of 70 kilograms and 80 centimeter in height. They named the healthy calf, Ayu Rosalina.

According to Wahdi, months ago, Suci began mating with a wild elephant that lived in forest area around CRU Sampoiniet’s Camp 21.

CRU is program run by local Natural Resources Conservation Agency, Aceh Jaya Forestry Agency, Aceh Protection and Monitoring Program of Flora and Fauna International and a local community ranger institute.

Wahdi said the program started in 2009 with an aim to build community-based forestry security mechanisms and mitigating conflict between the community and wild animals.

According to WWF, Sumatran Elephant is the smallest of the Asian elephants. Sumatran elephant is facing serious pressure from illegal logging and habitat loss from palm oil plantations.

International Union for Conservation of Nature on its 2011 report classified Sumatran Elephant in their red list as critically endangered species where 69 percent of Sumatran Elephant habitats have been lost within the last 25 years.

Sumatran Elephants are found in Riau, West Sumatra and Lampung. IUCN reported that post 2008, the population trend of Sumatran Elephant is keep decreasing.

In Riau, Sumatran elephant numbers in this province dropped by 84 percent in less than 25 years. The population declined from approximately 1,342 in 1984 to 210 in 2007.

In West Sumatra, Sumatran Elephants have been completely extirpated from this province.

In Lampung, twelve of the 44 Sumatran elephant populations identified in the mid-1989s occurred in Lampung Province. But, according to surveys conducted in 2001 and 2002 only three were still extant in 2002, and one of those was not considered viable.

Meidyana Rayana Intern Reporter news@theasian.asia

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