30 Apr 2020
The translocation of Pahu on the 3rd pocket habitat started with the decree of Director General of KSDAE no SK. 93/KSDAE/SET/KSA.2/2/2018 on 27th February 2018.
Initially, in the location of the movement of the Pahu rhino, only one pit-trap was installed. Pit-trap is a method for catching rhino or large mammals using specially designed pitfalls so the trapped animals will not be injured. The pit-trap method has been proven to be the safest based on the experience of catching rhinos in Sumatra in the 1985-1990s.
After some time, Pahu did not get caught, it was decided by the rescue team to add the pit-traps to 6 pit-traps. The rhino rescue team during the capture process, also monitored the movement of rhino using camera traps and also patrolling the outer habitat. Patrols are carried out to ensure the rhinos are still safe and undisturbed by hunters and forest loggers, because it is suspected that hunting for consumption of animals such as wild boar and deer is still ongoing. It is because the habitat is not a conservation area.
Besides that, Selain itu, the team built a camp as a location to secure access to rhino habitat, as well as a center for their activities. From this central camp, several team members were assigned as pit-trap observers twice a day, in the morning and evening to find out whether the rhino had entered the pit-trap. All of the activities occurred on April—November 2018.
Pahu got into pit-trap
Finally, on Sunday morning November 25 2018 at 7.30 WITA, the Pahu rhino was found to be inside pit trap number 4, which is near the Tunuq stream.
Furthermore, all of the rescue team, were consolidated to gather and go to the pit-trap location at 09.00 WITA. The first effort to be made is to lift the rhino from the pit-trap into a transport cage or boma (temporary cages with a minimum size of 4 × 4 m). Seeing the condition of the Pahu rhino in the pit trap which was quite calm and not agitated, the vet team decided that the rhino could be lifted to a transport cage. Rhinoceros transport cage is a cage that will carry the rhino from pit locations to sanctuary locations.
According to the SOP, rhino should be lifted from the pit trap before 24 hours. However, due to weather conditions, there were some obstacles such as muddy roads from the base camp to the pit trap location, transportation and preparation to move the rhinoceros from the pit trap to the transport cage. Many vehicles are trapped on muddy roads so it took more time before rhino can finally lifted to the transport cage. On Monday November 26, 2018, the Pahu rhino was successfully transferred to a transport cage.
Since the rhino fell into the pit-trap, preparations are also being carried out for transporting the rhino from the pit-trap location to the rhino sanctuary at PT HLKL. Vehicle preparation that is able to transport rhinos from pit-trap locations also has its own difficulties considering that certain types of vehicles are needed, namely a truck with a crane on it. In this type of truck plan, it will be assisted by PT TCM (Turbaindo Coal Mining) and PT Pama Persada Nusantara, a coal mining company operating around the forest. After the truck is secured, the next obstacle is taking it to the pit trap location where the access road passes through several rivers with a bridge that is inadequate for this truck to pass. At the same time, PT TCM also helped strengthen the access road from the pit trap location to the mine road (which was smooth and hard) by sending a bulldozer and a backhoe loader tractor. All access roads along the 5.3 km from the pit trap to the main camp, and 21 km from the main camp to the mine road must be repaired before vehicles carrying can pass.
Pahu translocation to the sanctuary
The entire process of preparing for the transport requires more than 24 hours, so that on November 27, 2018, at 16.50 WITA, the transport cage containing the Pahu rhino can only be departed from the pit trap location. Crane trucks cannot reach the pit trap location due to the constraints of several small bridges, so the transport cage is carried by a 4WD single cabin pick up vehicle with a fairly long tailgate. The journey from the pit trap location to the main camp is the hardest part because previously on the access road this vehicle was often trapped in the mud. However, bulldozers and backhoes can access this road so that it can be leveled and strengthened. At 18:30 WITA the cage transport group reached the main camp.
At the base camp, the team made final preparations, while resting Pahu which according to the doctor is in good condition. On the next trip from the main camp to the mine road, the group also had to stop several times to give the rhino a chance to rest and the doctors checked the rhino’s condition. Previously, at a location not far from the main camp, the rhino transport cage was moved from a single cabin pickup vehicle to a truck with a crane. Inside the crane truck is also provided torrent (water tank) to ensure enough water to cool the rhino body temperature and wash its food. One veterinarian and 3 rhino nurses also accompanied the truck. The journey to the mining road took about 5 hours.
Finally, at around 8.00 Pahu was successfully transferred to the nursing cage at the sanctuary location with good condition. Pahu will be monitored by national and international medical team, and nurses who are ready until the rhino is ready to be put into the paddock. Pahu will be monitored for the next 3 months before the maintenance is handed over to the sanctuary management.
West Kutai Rhino Rescue Team
The Sumatran Rhinoceros rescue team in Kutai Barat East Kalimantan consists of conservation experts and stakeholders from the Government, Partners and rhino conservation organizations, according to the Decree of the Director General of KSDAE. The team consists of a health team, namely veterinarians, rhino nurses and food seekers, as well as a monitoring team, which consist of pit trap check personnel, daily rhino movement monitoring, as well as personnel to prepare transport cages, boma and corridors.
The rescue of Sumatran Rhino in East Kalimantan also supported by the government of East Kalimantan, Kutai Barat District, Sekretariat Bersama Badak, WWF Indonesia, Tropical Forest Conservation Act Kalimantan (TFCA), Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI), Aliansi Lestari Rimba Terpadu (ALeRT), Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB), PT. Hutan Lindung Kelian Lestari (HLKL), Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA), Universitas Mulawarman, Komunitas Pecinta Alam Damai (KOMPAD), and other partners, also indigenous community. Besides the team from Indonesia, the team of doctors has the support of overseas veterinarians from Malaysia, Australia, and Sweden.