Wild Sumatran Elephant Halaban Ecotourism

Conservation and Community-Based Ecotourism: A Willingness to Change


Seeing Wild Sumatran Elephant in Halaban, North Sumatra

Halaban Ecotourism - Wild Sumatran Elephant

Gunung Leuser National Park

What is Halaban Ecotourism?


Halaban Ecotourism is a new tourist destination and was designed in mid-2023 to create more awareness about protecting the Gunung Leuser National Park area from encroachment. A little community flanked by multiple oil palm plantation firms need special attention and maintenance. Halaban Ecotourism has approximately 20 unique wild elephants, with no more than 1400 wild Sumatran elephants remaining on the entire island of Sumatra.


Halaban is located 105 km from Bukit Lawang, 4 hours away by car. Halaban is a village located close to the border between the provinces of North Sumatra and Aceh. Halaban is expected to become an ecotourism destination in the future, providing easy access to wild Sumatran elephants while also providing jobs for the local community in the fight against illegal logging activities both inside and outside Gunung Leuser National Park. For the ecotourism future in this village, SUMECO and Gunung Leuser National Park are teamed up on making Halaban Ecotourism as one ecotourism destination where to see wild elephants in Sumatra.


According to studies undertaken by Mongabay, the wild Sumatran elephant population today ranges between 1,000 and 1,400 individuals scattered across the provinces of Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, Bengkulu, and Lampung.


Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus).


Sumatran elephants are a subspecies of Asian elephants found solely on the island of Sumatra. Sumatran elephants are smaller than the Indian elephant subspecies. The Sumatran elephant population is declining and has become a very threatened species as a result of human killing, and its habitat has been converted to plantation lands due to aggressive invasion. The Sumatran elephant is Indonesia’s largest mammal, weighing up to 6 tons and standing up to 3.5 meters tall at the shoulder. Baby Sumatran elephants have a 22-month gestation period and can live to be 70 years old on average.


Sumatran elephants in the Leuser Ecosystem and surrounding forest areas in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, are regrettably being threatened by the conversion of forests into cropland and palm oil plantations. Other severe risks to their dwellings include wood concessions, illegal logging and burning, mining, quarrying, and road and settlement expansions. All of these actions have disastrous consequences, including forest loss, severe fragmentation, and direct risks to animals, whether through poaching or killing as a result of human-wildlife conflict. Clearing elephant habitat leads to greater human-elephant contacts and significant confrontations, as evidenced by the recent spike in elephant poisoning rates.


Wild Sumatran Elephant Watching.


Visiting Halaban Ecotourism may ensure sightings and allow you to come up close (50 meters) to wild Sumatran elephants; nothing compares to viewing a truly wild Sumatran elephant roaming through Sumatran shrubs and forest. They are massive, clever, and completely wild, and the tiny sensation of danger only adds to the amazing experience of encountering an elephant. You will learn considerably more in a few minutes with a wild herd than in days with a captive individual, as you witness their behavior free of chains, disturbed rocking, and human interaction. The way the entire herd protects a little youngster and the care with which Sumatran elephants treat the sparse foliage is just magical.

Sustainable Development of Halaban Ecotourism Through Wild Sumatran Elephants.


Halaban’s sustainable ecotourism development method in the initial stages, in 2023, still relies on ecotourism activities to see wild elephants that have fixed movement areas. As it’s known, this implementation was initialized in Tenggulun, Aceh Tamiang, in March 2023, when, during the process of tourism development, we accidentally discovered many illegal logging activities carried out by local communities that had become our future challenge to its development.


Our continuous efforts for sustainable development of Halaban ecotourism have never shifted away from ecotourism elements based on conservation and empowerment of local communities, which in the future are expected to be able to increase the protection capacity of Gunung Leuser National Park, carried out by authorities together with the surrounding community.


The application of economic value through conservation-based ecotourism activities in Halaban is expected to have positive impacts on public awareness of environmental sustainability in the surrounding areas, especially for the biodiversity of Gunung Leuser National Park. Ecotourism in Halaban has a significant part in ‘creating economic benefits’ since it creates jobs in remote places that have not been touched by the government.

Halaban Ecotourism and Gunung Leuser National Park


Gunung Leuser National Park is one of the largest national parks in Indonesia. The topography of Gunung Leuser National Park is quite varied from coastal lowlands to mountainous contours reaching a height of 2,500 m above sea level. This is one of the factors that makes Gunung Leuser National Park a habitat for various types of flora and fauna species, including endemic and endangered animals such as the Sumatran rhino, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant and Sumatran orangutan.


The importance of Gunung Leuser National Park as a remaining Sumatran forest ecosystem has received international recognition. In 1981 UNESCO designated Gunung Leuser National Park as a biosphere reserve. Then, UNESCO also designated this area as Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra in 2004. However, even though its existence is considered very important, Leuser seems to constantly face various pressures that threaten its sustainability. Illegal logging, encroachment and conversion of forests for agriculture or other activities, as well as hunting for protected animals within the Gunung Leuser National Park are the main forms of threat that continue to occur.

Where and How to See Wild Elephant in Sumatra, Indonesia

Once in a Lifetime Experience, It’s Wild Sumatran Elephants

Are you looking for a unique and unforgettable wildlife experience? Look no further than Halaban Ecotourism, where you can witness the majestic Wild Sumatran Elephant in its natural habitat.


Wild Sumatran Elephant: Get up close and personal with one of the world’s largest land animals. Observe their behavior and learn about their natural habitat and conservation efforts.


Eco-Friendly and Ethical Tourism: Our tours are designed to minimize impact on the environment and support local conservation efforts.


Education and Conservation: Learn about the importance of conservation and the efforts being made to protect these endangered animals.


Photo and Video Opportunities: Capture breathtaking photos of these magnificent creatures in their natural surroundings.


– Sumatran elephant size: Up to 10 feet (2,5 meters) tall and weighing up to 11,000 pounds (5,000 kg)
– Diet: Herbivorous, consuming around 300 pounds of vegetation per day
– Habitat: Tropical forests of Sumatra, Indonesia
– Maximum group size: 10 people
– Location: Halaban Ecotourism, Gunung Leuser National Park, North Sumatra Sumatra


How it works:
1. Book your tour at our website or contact our WhatsApp at +6282166316641
2. Meet your knowledgeable guide at the designated meeting point.
3. Embark on a guided trek through the lush forests of Sumatra.
4. Observe and learn about the Wild Sumatran Elephant in its natural habitat.
5. Capture unforgettable photos and memories.
6. Support local conservation efforts through your visit.


Q: Are the elephants in captivity?
A: No, our tours focus on observing wild elephants in their natural habitat.
Q: Is it safe to be near the elephants?
A: Our experienced guides ensure the safety of both visitors and the elephants during the tour. However, it is important to follow their instructions at all times.

We focus on quality, and you must inform us two days in advance for jungle tours (trekking) to see wild Sumatran elephants in Halaban. The activities inside Gunung Leuser National Park through Halaban will cover the exploration of biodiversity, especially the endemic species. During the activities, an expert on local wildlife will assist you with species identification. The price includes transportation (4 hours driving from Bukit Lawang to Halaban and 4 hours driving from Halaban to Bukit Lawang or 5 hours driving from Halaban to the airport), food, a tent, a guide, documentation during the expedition, and expertise on local wildlife (a zoologist). A nocturnal hike is included in all packages.

Wild Elephants, Halaban, and Palm Oil Plantation in Sumatra

Obstacles to the development of ecotourism in Halaban will always be the same: the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations following deforestation, which is all in the country’s and society’s economic interests. Even when discussing this case, you must exercise caution and patience, as pressure from the government and corporations will always follow those who speak out.


SUMECO cannot definitively assert the existence of parties who have been unsuccessful in their environmental conservation efforts in Sumatra. However, SUMECO can confidently affirm that this task is challenging, as environmental issues in the present era have permeated the sociopolitical sphere.


In the midst of the chaos that occurred, such as the palm oil polemic and problems regarding the community’s economy, preserving the presence of the wild Sumatran elephant population that has designated Halaban as their permanent movement area is of utmost significance for the establishment of ecotourism in Halaban to pursue a better environment in the future. The reason for this is that Halaban is surrounded in close proximity to regions that are currently experiencing persistent issues with deforestation.


The mitigation strategy that has been used by companies and the government to keep wild Sumatran elephants away from residential areas is to use explosions, noise and even firecrackers. Meanwhile, the Sumatran elephants possess remarkable intelligence.


Being land animals, they possess the greatest brain and a neuron count that is three times greater than that of humans. Although a significant number of these neurons are responsible for regulating the elephant’s sizable and skillful physique, these animals have consistently showcased their remarkable cognitive talents.


Of course, animals that have a high level of intelligence have very fast adaptive abilities, and this is quite a good opportunity for how tours to see wild Sumatran elephants can be realized in an ecotourism program where it is hoped that the income can compete with illegal logging activities.

Any support is highly appreciated, and all funds will be used thoughtfully to work towards the accomplishment of our projects.


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