Get to Know and Take Care of the Animals

SMN Journal

Get to Know and Take Care of the Animals

Today was unusual. On Monday, August 19, 2019, we began to get ready very early in the morning. At 3:00 WIB, our chaperon had come to help us get ready to leave. After yesterday’s activities in Kalianda, today we would go to a place that we only knew from our textbook, Way Kambas.

That’s right, from Kalianda in South Lampung, it took about 3 hours to go to Way Kambas in East Lampung. We had to get there in the morning to see the Sumatran Rhinoceros. That’s the reason at 3:00 a.m. we had to get ready to leave on time. But it's okay because we could continue our sleep on the bus to Way Kambas anyway.

At 07.00 WIB, we arrived at the gate of Way Kambas National Park. After breakfast, we rushed into the Sumatran Rhino conservation area. From the gate, we apparently had to pass through a forest area by bus. It was said that in this forest there were still many wild elephants and also other wild animals.

As soon as we arrived at the Sumatran Rhinoceros conservation area, we met with veterinarians and officers who took care of the Sumatran Rhinos here. After we introduced to each other, we were invited to walk around in the vast Sumatran rhino forest area. The sound of Siamang coming from the forest welcomed us while we started the jungle track this morning.

At the end of the jungle track, we visited the cage of one of the Sumatran Rhinos, named Harapan. Harapan who was having breakfast, welcomed us kindly. It approached us in front of his cage, even posed to show off.

Kak Ganis who accompanied us told that Harapan was a Sumatran Rhino who was born in the United States in 2007, and was an offspring of an Indonesian Sumatran Rhino. After both parents and its partner died, Harapan was taken to the Sumatra Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) located in Way Kambas National Park in 2016. Harapan was brought to Indonesia in a purpose to be able to breed and Sumatra was however the original habitat of the Sumatran Rhinoceros.

We also got a complete explanation of the way of life and all the needs of the Sumatran rhinos. Apparently the Sumatran Rhinos and Javan Rhinos were different. The most obvious difference was in the number of horns. The Sumatran rhinos had two horns while the Javan rhinos had one horn. Not only that, the Sumatran rhino skin also had fine hair.

After SRS visit was over, we headed to the Way Kambas elephant breeding area that was located in another complex of this National Park. The first elephant that greeted us was named Patra. This 6-year-old elephant was very friendly when we were there. Its body was not too big and obviously he liked to eat bananas. We took turns feeding the bananas and sugar cane for Patra.

To find out more about elephants, we also visited Prof. Dr. Ir. Rubini Atmawidjaya Elephant Hospital. Over there, they explained about the medicine for elephants and how to treat sick elephants. Anyway, the Elephant Hospital was named Rubini Atmawidjaya for his merit in dealing with the conflict between citizens and wild elephants decades ago. We also found out recently that the Way Kambas Elephant Hospital was the first elephant hospital in Asia. Wow, so cool!

After the Elephant Hospital visit, we then headed to the pool side not far from there. They said this was the pool where the elephants bathed. When we arrived, there were two elephants already in the pool with the keepers. After bathing, the two elephants approached us on the poolside. Of course we were so excited to be able to interact with elephants this close. We again took turns offering bananas and sugar cane for those elephants.

After the two elephants were satisfied playing and eating with us, they went back to the cage in a hurry because it was already afternoon. Shortly after, there was another large elephant that approached us after bathing. Its name was Hombloh and it was 30 years old. Hombloh turned out to be very smart and friendly even though it was surrounded by humans. Several times we laughed watching its funny behavior.

We were also surprised by the elephant’s action in distinguishing goods. Hombloh even understood the directions and commands from the keeper and us. Not only that, Hombloh was very skilled to pose to take pictures with us. Of course we didn't want to waste time taking pictures while sitting at Hombloh's feet. Its behavior brought laughter and applause.

We didn't realize that the day was getting late and Hombloh had to go back to its cage. After saying goodbye to Hombloh, we had to go back to Bandar Lampung immediately. The journey from Way Kambas to Bandar Lampung took more than 2 hours, and it was already dark when we arrived in Bandar Lampung.

Today was very tiring because the distance we traveled was very far. But our exhaustion paid off because we had the opportunity to meet the Sumatran Rhinos and Elephants in Way Kambas National Park. Not everybody could meet the Sumatran rhinos there. We were very fortunate to meet Harapan, the Sumatran Rhino. The experience of meeting Sumatran Rhinoceros and Elephants definitely motivated us to participate in taking care the decreasing population of the Sumatran Rhinoceros. From now on, we also urged you to participate taking care of the Sumatran Rhino population.