Attack on FZS facilities in Bukit Tiga Puluh, Indonesia

On Sunday, February 25th and Monday, February 26th, 2024, serious incidents occurred at two FZS facilities on Sumatra. Fortunately, no one was injured, but there was significant material damage. Police investigations are ongoing.

02/29/2024, FZS

What happened?

On Sunday, February 25th, at around 9 p.m., a large group of people from the villages of Mura Danau, Tanah Tumbuh and Lubuk Kambing, which are southeast of Bukit Tiga Puluh National Park on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, gathered in front of the FZS field station in Simpang Burund. At that time, elephant scouts from the FZS Wildlife Protection Unit (WPU) and employees of the regional nature conservation authority BKSDA Jambi (responsible for wildlife protection), a government partner of FZS on Sumatra, were present at the station.

The villagers called on the nature conservation authority to relocate three elephants that were roaming around the three villages and were digging up their oil palm plantations. After the conservation authority’s employees repeatedly gave no guarantee that the elephants could be relocated in the future, the situation escalated.

During their protest in front of the FZS field station in Simpang Burund, the residents threatened the BKSDA officials and the FZS team who were there. They destroyed the windows of the FZS accommodation and damaged various items, including an off-road vehicle and motorcycles.

Fortunately, the local community leader was able to calm the situation until police from Merlung arrived at the scene. The police were then able to ease the situation and the FZS team and the BKSDA employees were brought to safety in Jambi.

Attack on the orangutan station

On Monday, February 26th, 2024, there was another incident, this time at the FZS Jungle School in Dalau Alo. In the late afternoon, the station was partially destroyed in an attack by a group of around 100 people and the FZS team present was taken by force to the village of Mura Danau. Police were able to free our colleagues on the same day. A FZS emergency team is now maintaining operations in the jungle school under police protection and caring for the four Sumatran orangutans who are currently housed there.


Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) are critically endangered. They rely on lowland rainforest and the increasing conversion of elephant habitat to rubber, eucalyptus and oil palm plantations is exacerbating conflicts between the population and elephants in the Bukit Tiga Puluh ecosystem. Additionally, habitat loss has led elephants to view young oil palm plantations as a good source of food.

Unfortunately, monitoring groups of elephants and keeping them away from fields is currently the only method to prevent massive conflicts between humans and elephants. In 2010, FZS launched the Elephant Conservation Program with the aim of enabling peaceful coexistence between elephants and local farmers. In the last five years, an average of around 300 so-called human-wildlife conflicts involving elephants have been recorded annually. Keeping the elephants out of the fields has become an ongoing task for the WPU. To achieve this, 12 elephant rangers are on duty 24 hours a day. They are supported by 30 farmers in shift work. We also support 28 elephant self-help groups with training and material in eight villages in the region, with over 300 members, to protect their fields themselves.

The program in Indonesia


Zoologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt von 1858 e.V.
Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1
60316 Frankfurt

Telephone: +49 (0)69 - 94 34 46 0
Fax: +49 (0)69 - 43 93 48

You will find our office in the Zoogesellschaftshaus (1st floor).