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Understanding the ecology of the Bornean Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) in the Sebuku Forest, Nunukan District, North Kalimantan, Indonesia

What is movements and corridors of the Bornean pygmy elephant in Sebuku forest? What is the nature of human-elephant conflict in Nunukan District in time and space? What are the diets of the Bornean elephants related to crop raiding?

2012  -   2017
R.B. Suba
The project is funded by Directorat General for Higher Education in Indonesia (DIKTI) PhD Scholarship

Short abstract

The Bornean elephant has a limited distribution and is found only in the northeastern part of the island (Malaysian Sabah and Indonesian Kalimantan). Unfortunately, their natural range and habitats have decreased significantly during the last decades, both in Sabah and on the Indonesian side. This PhD study will focus on one small pocket of habitat of the Bornean elephant in the Indonesian part of Borneo.

Project description

Conservation efforts for the Bornean elephant have the aim to identify corridors to link protected elephant range and better land use planning. To date, none of these recommendations have been adequately implemented, not only because of the lack of priority in policy, but also due to a lack of information on elephant habitat use, seasonal movement and home range area. The need to fill this gap is crucial for enhancing policy priority and developing conservation strategies for this endangered species in the Sebuku forest.

The information on movements and corridors of the Bornean pygmy elephant in Indonesia is lacking and needs further investigation. Our study aims therefore to fill this gap and has a focus on an analysis of factors determining (potential) elephant corridors in Indonesia, which connect to the larger population in Malaysia.

On the other hand, conflicts with people have started to occur. Elephants have disturbed oil palms and the crops of local communities. Understanding human elephant conflict (HEC) is of vital importance for the conservation of these endangered Borneo pygmy elephants. Therefore we study the foraging ecology and diet of the elephant population of north east Kalimantan (Indonesia) in the context of HECs. This PhD study also tried to analyze factors influencing HEC in Sebuku through a survey of villagers and crop field owners, therefore to characterize the nature of HEC and analyzed how the conflict influences local people's perception and attitudes towards the conservation of the Bornean pygmy elephant.