TEMPO.CO, Pekanbaru-A herd of wild Sumatran elephants went on a rampage when their habitat at the Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau, went ablaze, Antara news agency reported Friday, October 23.
"For three days we put out the fire, we always meet herds of wild elephants. They are raging, letting out very loud noises. It makes the process of extinguishing fire very vulnerable," said Army Strategic Command (Kostrad) Team Commander Sergeant Dian Syaifullah to Antara in Tesso Nilo National Park, Pelalawan on Friday.
He said that there are nine Kostrad personnel working to fight fire in an area of Bukit Apolo, Bagan Limau Village, Ukui, Pelalawan Regency since October 20. Most of the forests in the Bukit Apolo now is damaged because of encroachment or converted into oil palm plantation.
"Initially we planned to stay the night at the scene of the fire, but the atmosphere is very tense and vulnerable at night because elephants are often raging, so we decided to went back,” he said.
At noon, in the vicinity of the fire Kostrad personnel often find traces of raging elephants, gardens damaged. On the third day of the fire fighting effort, the joint team was only about 100 meters from a herd of raging elephants.
"We had to stop and wait until the herd of wild elephants passed, only then we can go home," he said.
The team had to extinguish fire with makeshift equipments because access to the location of the fire is very difficult to accessed by large fire trucks and lack of water sources. Fire in the area had scorched about 40 hectares of land in three days.
ANTARA | NZM