Malaysia: Elephant population growth needs to be addressed

OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 5 Dec 15;

LAHAD DATU: There is a need to have better management of the growing elephant population and its limited habitat size, said Sabah Wildlife director William Baya.

He was commenting on the department’s largest translocation operation involving 24 elephants back to Tabin Wildlife Reserve here today.

“Translocating the herd (that comes into conflict with humans) does not serve as a permanent solution.

“It has been proven that the same translocated elephants made their way back to the conflict area,” he explained.

In 2013, the department had a similar translocation operation involving 10 Borneo elephants that were introduced into Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

The department had spent about a month to conduct the elephant control by herding them back to the forest reserve but decided to translocate them to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of people. The cost of translocation is between RM20,000 and RM30,000 per animal.

The herd, comprising of 22 females and two males pachyderms, were first reported in a village area located less than 10-kilometres away from the town which stretched from Kampung Sri Putatan up to Jalan Sin Hwa.

Four of the elephants were captured from Kampung Sri Putatan, 15 from Jalan Sin Hwa, three from Layung and two from Kampung Binuang.

Two elephants are also fixed with satellite collars sponsored by Danau Girang Field Centre for future movement monitoring to better understand the human-elephant conflict in Sabah.

Meanwhile, the department also announced a statewide elephant population survey would also be conducted next year to look into the increasing human-elephant conflict in Sabah.

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