Freda was collared in July 2013 for the first time in order to replace another elephant in the same herd named Bella who had lost her GPS collar some time earlier. Since then, Freda has been re-collared three times; in early 2015, October 2016 and July 2019.
For many years Freda’s family had its core home range within a commercial forest concession in the very west of the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape. However, large-scale clear cutting and widespread forest fires have destroyed most of Freda’s original habitat. In search of food and shelter, Freda and the herd moved eastwards, into the southern buffer of the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park (ABT Block I). That is where Freda currently spends most of her time, often joining with Indah’s herd for a few weeks or even months. These peaceful rests were frequently interrupted by long distance trips towards the west – no doubt, Freda has not forgotten her old home, and thus tries from time to time to return. As the forest plantation has not grown back yet, Freda usually only spends a few confused days in the now mostly destroyed landscape, after which she heads back to ABT Block I. Every year, fewer and fewer elephants join this long-distance trip and the last trip only included only six females. We hope that they will give up soon and stay within the safety of PT ABT and adjacent areas.
From October 2019 - March 2020, Freda and her family continued to spend most of their time north of the WKS corridor road within the forestry concession PT LAJ (with a short excursion to PT ABT Block 1). The group did make an attempt to break through to the west again, however, they ended up in the Northwest around Pemayungan village and PT ABT Block 2. After several weeks of heavy conflicts with illegal farmers that have settled in that area, they gave up and headed west again. They have currently joined Indah’s and Mutiara’s family groups, and the young bull Nikolas.
The photos show Freda and her herd and the Elephant Conservation and Monitoring Units hard at work monitoring the elephants and working with the local community in the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem.