Bukit Tigapuluh - Green Heart of Sumatra

Bukit Tigapuluh ("thirty hills") is a vast forest block of about 4,000 km2  located roughly in the geographical centre of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is known for being one of the last strongholds for the Sumatran Elephant. The area also provides extended habitat for other threatened mammals such as tigers, clouded leopards, gibbons, and orangutans. The mountainous core zone of the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape is protected by the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park (≈ 1,440 km2), but elephants stay almost exclusively outside protected areas. In 1985, Blouch & Simbolon estimated the Bukit Tigapuluh elephant population (at that time named “southern Riau population”) to consist of 300-400 animals and hence to be one of the two largest populations on Sumatra at that time. Surprisingly, the Bukit Tigapuluh elephants remained virtually unstudied for over 20 years. The first attempt to evaluate the status of the population using scientific methods was completed in 2008: according to Moßbrucker (2009), two discrete areas are occupied by elephants. The elephant population currently well exceeds 100 animals and may (in terms of the population size and current habitat quality & size) be viable over the long term. The Bukit Tigapuluh elephants are regarded as one of only few populations of high value for elephant conservation in Indonesia.




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