Press Release: ProFauna Demands the Government Close Down The Palm Oil Transportation Company’s Shortcut to Block Wildlife Hunting Access in Seblat Elephant Conservation Center

(06/24/2009) The establishment of the shortcut by PT. Alno Agro Utama, a palm oil transportation company, has created an access for wildlife smugglers to commit their crimes in Seblat Elephant Conservation Center (PKG). Based on ProFauna's records from 2004 and 2007, there have been at least seven elephants killed. On 17 July 2007, a male elephant named Pratama killed severely, his head crashed and the ivory tusks gone. Until now, the perpetrator has not been revealed.

The latest kill was the deaths of two elephants named Gia and Paula, who were trained by Seblat PKG, on 23 March 2009. Similar to the previous case, the perpetrator has not been uncovered eventhough the bullet found in Gia's head has been identified.

Access to the shortcut has been legalized by the government based on the MoU signed by the PT. Alno Groups and the Forestry Department. The legalization is unnecessary since there is another road that the transportation company can take, through the neighborhood roads. On the contrary, the shortcut has threatened the security of PKG areas and the conservation of wildlife living in the area, Moreover, the shortcut used to be the expedition routes of wildlife to the Kerinci Seblat National Park (TNKS). According to ProFauna's survey between December 2008 and June 2009, there have been at least 12 tiger snares found not far from the shortcut.

Besides increasing wildlife poaching, the shortcut also facilitates loggers to enter the production forest of Lebong Kandis, which is also in the area of Seblat. Even though the Police of Bengkulu has succeeded in tackling the logging, wildlife poaching is still going on in the area.

For these reasons, ProFauna urges the government to close down the shortcut and not continue the MoU with PT. Alno Group, which officially ends in December 2009. ProFauna also demands that the government seriously enforce the law concerning the protection of wildlife and their habitats. The first important thing to do by the government is by closing down the PT. Alno's shortcut and preventing wildlife poaching and logging in Seblat area.

Apart from the close down by the government to enforce the natural resources conservation law, PT. Alno Agro Utama should adhere the law because it is the member of RSPO (Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil) which should not break the sustainable management rules by establishing the shortcut which has increased logging and wildlife poaching in Seblat area.

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ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats