Banda Aceh. An Acehnese farmer was killed in his sleep and his son was injured on Saturday after a Sumatran elephant trampled through their shelter in the middle of a West Aceh plantation.
Yusmadi, 59, died immediately, while his son, Reverendi, 13, sustained several fractures. The pair were sleeping in a shack in a plantation off Buloh village in the subdistrict of Meureubo, West Aceh, when the incident happened.
“The father and son were asleep, then suddenly a wild male elephant came through the plantation and attacked the shack, stamping on the two,” Meureubo Police chief Second Insp. John Darwin said on Sunday.
The incident reportedly took place at 5 a.m. on Saturday after the father and son had spent Friday working on the plantation, which was owned by a family member, Abdullah Sani.
Reverendi is currently undergoing treatment at Cut Nyak Dhien Hospital in the neighboring Meulaboh district.
Ibnu, a neighbor of the pair in Buloh village, said the plantation area, once covered by forest, had been part of elephants’ track until a coal mine was opened.
“Now it’s been deforested,” Ibnu said. “The elephants’ trail has become a track for cars and trucks carrying coal from the mine.”
Conflicts between humans and elephants have intensified in Aceh over the years as many forest lands are converted into plantations. In 2013 alone, at least six wild Sumatran elephants were found dead.
The status of the Sumatran elephant was changed in 2012 from "endangered" to "critically endangered" commensurate with the 80 percent decline in their number over the course of a single generation.
There are now thought to be between 2,400 to 2,800 elephants left in the wild.