Currently about 2,500 cattles in the surrounding of Mount Merapi are underfed due to eruptions that have occurred since 26 October. Many cows and other livestocks abandoned by their owners are consequently getting underfed. The grasses are covered by volcanic ashes. “The animals cannot feed on the grass because it is covered by the volcanic ash of Mount Merapi," Chairman of the Indonesian Animal Science Scholar Association (ISPI) Yogyakarta Branch, Prof. Dr. Ali Agus, D.A.A., D.E.A., explained on Monday (1/11).
Ali Agus said the livestock feed is often a priority than human. Ali Agus estimated the need for cattle feed at Merapi about 20 kg of forage or grass each day or about 50 tons of forage each day. Concentrate of the cattle feed averages 5 kg for each animal each day or a total of about 12.5 tons each day for 2,500 cattles. "We also distribute these concentrates for cattle," said Ali Agus, who also serves as Head of UGM Agricultural Training, Research and Development Station (KP4 ).
Agus explained that the distribution of the animal feed from ISPI has been carried out since Friday (29/10). Every day, his office sent at least a truck loaded with hay, especially to the Cangkringan and Purwobinangun areas. Meanwhile, the concentrate is sent up to 1 ton per day. “Some hay and forage was brought in from outside of Yogya, such as Boyolali and Klaten," he said.
He said for livestock distribution and identification, his office also involves students, coordinating with the local village government. A fundraising campaign among thousands of ISPI members that are spread all over Indonesia has raised funds of approximately 25 million rupiah. Some of the funds will be spent on providing instant dishes in the form of 1,000 salted eggs each day. "We hope the instant food can help the people," Ali Agus said.
According to this UGM expert of nutrition and animal feed, ISPI also conducts assistance for livestock minerals and supplements. According to Agus, a similar activity was also conducted during the eruption in 2006. This activity will continue to be done because Mt. Merapi is still erupting.