TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The national toll road construction project connecting Pekanbaru – Dumai will be integrated with six animal crossings in an attempt to conserve the local habitat of Sumatran elephants.
“There will be six elephant crossings. One will be located at the Tekuana River while five others will be located at Section 4 near the Balai Raja Wildlife Reserve,” said PT Hutama Karya’s toll road project leader Dinny Suryakencana on Monday at the plenary meeting on the construction of the elephant crossings.
The length of the Pekanbaru – Dumai toll road is 131.48 kilometers, which is a part of the Trans Sumatra Toll that is classified as a national strategic program.
According to him, the elephant crossings will vary in height from 4.5-meter to 11-meter of clearance. The width will also vary from 25-meters to 45-meters and will be planted with vegetation that adheres to the elephants’ diet.
Public Works and Public Housing Ministry originally designed the massive infrastructure to not cross paths with the conservation area but was faced with the fact that it still had to cross with the Sumatra elephants’ home range.
The first crossing at the Tekuana River is at the toll road’s section 2 and is a stone-throw away from the Gajah Minas Training Ground in Siak Regency. This area is home to at least 13 wild Sumatran elephants while the other crossings will be within the toll road’s section 4 or in the 61-kilometer point from the direction of Pekanbaru.
Balai Raja Wildlife Reserve is home to six elephants while the Giam Siak Kecil is home to 50-60 wild elephants according to the local Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA).