Elephants patrol Indonesian wildfires

Blog Post created by faithberry Employee on Nov 18, 2015

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1770d0e970c-800wi.pngDid you know that in Indonesia, the wildland firetruck can actually be an elephant?


Fires in Indonesia are set often to clear land for agricultural use.  According to the NASA website, “Fires are a common occurrence in Borneo in September and October because farmers engage in "slash and burn agriculture", a technique that involves frequent burning of rainforest to clear the way for crops or grazing animals. In southern Borneo, the intent is often to make room for new plantings of oil palm and acacia pulp.  Many of the fires burned in areas with soils underlain with peat—a soil-like mixture of partly decayed plant material formed in wetlands. Peat fires tend to be difficult to extinguish, often smoldering under the surface for months.”


This is where the elephants come in.  The elephants patrol burned areas in national forests in the Provence of RIAU in East Sumatra.  These elephants have been trained to carry water pumps and hoses that are used to put out fires that can reoccur from smoldering peat.  These elephants are the forest fire patrol, which move through forested areas looking for wildfires which can reoccur.

Other animals have historically been used to fight fires in the past including horses in the United States from the mid-1800’s to early 1900’s.