After several months of intense conflict, the efforts from the Elephant Conservation and Monitoring Units paid off and Freda’s herd moved back into the southern buffer zone of the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park. Since then, Freda and her family have spent most of their time in the Ecosystem Restoration Concession ABT Block I, where they sometimes join with elephants from other herds- since May 2018, three additional herds moved in from the south.
From time to time, Freda moves through the conservation area of the rubber company PT RLU, but as much of this area is heavily encroached by illegal farmers, the elephants usually don’t stay long. Unfortunately, in these areas, the risk of elephants being killed or injured by either poachers or illegal farmers remains high. Therefore, the Elephant Conservation and Monitoring Units are on location 24/7, following the movements of the herds in order to reduce this risk as much as possible. In addition, we are trying to push concession owners that are responsible for the protection of key elephant habitat to improve habitat protection and to find solutions for encroachment.
Profile & Background: Freda was collared in July 2013 for the first time in order to replace another elephant in the same herd named Bella who had lost her GPS collar some time earlier. In early 2015 we replaced Freda’s collar then worn-down collar, and re-collered her again in October 2016. A collar check and potential replacement is scheduled for later this year or early 2019.
For many years Freda’s family had its core home range within a commercial forest concession in the very west of the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape. However, large-scale clear cutting and widespread forest fires have destroyed most of Freda’s original habitat. In search of food and shelter, Freda and the herd moved eastwards, into the southern buffer of the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park (ABT Block I). That is where Freda currently spends most of her time, often joining with Indah’s herd for a few weeks or even months. These peaceful rests were frequently interrupted by long distance trips towards the west – no doubt, Freda has not forgotten her old home, and thus tries from time to time to return. As the forest plantation has not grown back yet, Freda usually only spends a few confused days in her old habitat, after which she heads back to ABT Block I.