Actor Chicco Jerikho, center, poses with Sumatran elephants at Way Kambas National Park in Lampung. (Photo courtesy of WWF Indonesia/M. Chafidz)

Chicco Jerikho to Run London Marathon and Raise Money for Endangered Elephants

BY :DHANIA SARAHTIKA

APRIL 19, 2018

Jakarta. Actor Chicco Jerikho is set to run the London Marathon on Sunday (22/03) and raise money for endangered Sumatran elephants.

Chicco, who is WWF Indonesia’s "Elephant Warrior," told the Jakarta Globe his love for elephants stemmed from stories and films he used to gobble up when he was a kid.

"My love for this charismatic animal grew even more when I finally saw them for real in their natural habitat in Aceh last year. But I've also seen the bitter reality, elephants and humans often get into violent clashes because the animals' habitat has been so severely reduced," Chicco said in a text message on Thursday.

In Pintu Rame and Karang Ampar in Aceh, Chicco heard from residents that elephants often entered residential areas and plantations in search of food.

According to an official statement from WWF Indonesia released on Friday, in the Peusangan Watershed Conservation Auction (DAS Peusangan) in Aceh, around 10 to 20 clashes between humans and elephants happen every month.

From 1999 to 2015, there were also 64 human vs. elephant clashes in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, most of them in Pemerihan, a village in Tanggamus, Lampung.

Chicco said the quickest solution to this problem is to supply the elephants with more forage and to build "natural fences" made of plants the elephants dislike to stop them from crossing over.

Elephants crossing into residential areas cause damage to properties, and often deaths on both sides.

But it must be noted in the past 25 years the population of Sumatran elephants in Riau alone declined sharply from 1,300 in 1984 to around 300-330 in 2009.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized Sumatran elephants as critically endangered. Hunting and land conversion are the main threats to their survival.

Chicco Jerikho visits an elephant at Way Kambas National Park in Lampung. (Photo courtesy of WWF Indonesia/M. Chafidz)

Virtual Elephantastic Run

Aside from running the London Marathon, Chicco has also issued an invitation to join Virtual Elephantastic Run, a series of 5K marathons hosted by WWF Indonesia.

Registration for the event costs Rp 100,000 ($7), and all proceeds will be donated for Sumatran elephant conservation.

"Virtual run" means that after signing up, you can choose which locations you want to do the 5K run.

You can choose between Pekanbaru (Riau) on April 15 or Jakarta, Surabaya (East Java) or Banda Aceh (Aceh) on April 22.

Money raised from Chicco's London Marathon run and donations from the Elephantastic run will be used to plant 10 hectares of forage and fences in areas threatened by elephant rampage.

Last month, WWF Indonesia released a short film titled "Berbagi Ruang" (Sharing a Spaces) documenting Chicco’s visit to Aceh and announcing the fundraising project.

The film was co-produced by WWF and Visinema Pictures.

"I hope what I do can make people — both those living near elephant sanctuaries and in urban centers — realize that nature is God’s blessing that we must protect and preserve. I want to raise awareness that Sumatran elephants are the pride of our country. We have to protect them instead of hunting them, killing them for their tusks and body parts," Chicco said.

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