Gibbon electrocuted by power line after North Sumatra village gets electricity

The siamang gibbon was found hanging on the electricity wire on Monday. Its body was still there a day later.
The siamang gibbon was found hanging on the electricity wire on Monday. Its body was still there a day later.PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JAKARTA (JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - In a rare incident that highlights the perils of the Indonesian government's infrastructure drive, a black-furred gibbon was electrocuted by a power line that had only recently been strung through a forest in Padang Lawas Utara regency in North Sumatra.

The siamang gibbon was found hanging on the electricity wire on Monday (March 25). Its body was still there a day later.

Residents of Aek Rao Tapian Nadenggan said it was the first time they had seen a gibbon die of electrocution since their village finally obtained access to electricity late last year.

"It is sad to see a dead siamang hanging on a power line," villager Sahnan said on Tuesday. "This rare incident is the first since the power lines were erected in our village a few months ago."

It is believed that the siamang gibbon was trying to cross a river in the forest by climbing the power lines.

"Electricity wires in the forest areas are very dangerous and could threaten the safety of the animals, particularly siamang gibbons that always climb trees," another villager Ahmadan told The Jakarta Post.

He called on the authorities to relocate the electricity wires that encroached into the habitat of the gibbons.

"We don't want to see more siamang gibbons die after climbing those electricity wires," he said.

PLN North Sumatra manager Tumpal Hutapea said that he was startled when he learnt that a siamang gibbon was killed by a power line the company had just put up.

"This is surprising to us," he told the Post.

The company, he said, would deploy a team to look into the matter.

"We will investigate the death of this siamang, including the erection of the power line that crosses the protected forest," he said, adding that the company would move the power line if it is proven to have violated existing regulations.

The siamang gibbons are native to forests in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.