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Government Announces Expansion of Tesso Nilo National Park to Ensure Room for Sumatran Elephants
© WWF-Indonesia/Sri Mariati, 2006
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08 Juni 2006

The Minister of Forestry Mr. Kaban (wearing cap) with members of the WWF's flying squad team rides the elephants during his official visit to the park on May 29, © WWF-Indonesia/Sri Maryati, 2006
Pekanbaru - The Indonesian minister of forestry and the governor of Riau Province last week announced plans to expand Tesso Nilo National Park to 100,000 hectares, a move WWF applauds as necessary to ensure adequate habitat for elephants in central Sumatra. The park currently covers 38,000 hectares.

The announcement was made to public by the Minister of Forestry Mr. Kaban on his visit to the park on May 29 and in the launching of Tesso Nilo Foundation on May 30. WWF helped create the foundation to ensure funding for the park and facilitate collaborative management of the park.

"We are encouraged to see that the minister of forestry has announced plans to expand Tesso Nilo to make it viable elephant habitat and to make Riau Province the Centre of Sumatran Elephant Conservation," said Nazir Foaed, director of policy and corporate engagement for WWF-Indonesia. "WWF is committed to working with the government, the paper and palm oil industries, and other concerned parties to ensure that the elephants of central Sumatra have a future."

Members of the WWF elephant flying squad team, which helps to reduce conflicts between humans and elephants, with the Riau Governor, © WWF-Indonesia/Sri Maryati, 2006
The loss of natural forest on Sumatra through legal and illegal forest conversion is so severe that conflict between homeless elephants and local people has reached crisis levels. WWF has documented that the population of elephants in Central Sumatra has declined from 1067-1617 elephants in 1985 to 353-431 elephants in 2003.

WWF's support for the conservation of Sumatran elephants comes not only from WWF-Indonesia and its supporters in Indonesia, but also from the WWF Network and supporters worldwide. Recently, WWF received signatures from nearly 40,000 WWF's supporters in 149 countries from Austria to Zambia, the United States to South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, Indonesia, Japan and many others. These WWF supporters, representing five continents (23,093 from North America, 568 from Latin America and the Carribean, 217 from Africa, 3,279 from Asia Pacific, 175 from the Middle East and North Africa and 10,519 from Europe), are urging prompt action to address the root causes of the human-elephant conflict in Riau, and to immediately stop encroachment and conversion of elephant habitat.

May 31: Good News, Captured Sumatran elephants released and commitment in place to expand their habitat
May 14 : Captured elephants from Balai Raja released to Tesso Nilo
May 9 : Status and Medical Records of 10 elephants in Balai Raja, Riau Province

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