Malaysia: Wildlife officers save village and elephants

T. AVINESHWARAN The Star 29 Jan 16;

LENGGONG: Folks in Kampung Luat can breathe easier after the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) caught two wild elephants that were lurking in their village for almost a week.

Twenty-five people from the department’s National Elephant Conservation Centre and Elephant Transportation Unit caught the two male Asian elephants on Tuesday.

The elephants were said to be stranded, believed left behind by their herd.

One of them was transferred to the Royal Belum State Park yesterday while the other will be sent there on Saturday. The remaining elephant is now being held in a cage at the village.

State Perhilitan director Rozaidan Md Yasin, who monitored the whole process, said the elephants – both about 15 years old – were from the Piah Forest Reserve.

“There are 12 elephants in the forest reserve. These two were stranded,” he said.

Two trained elephants from the National Elephant Conservation Centre that helped to transfer the wild elephant into the truck were the show stealers.

Abut and Rambai, both female Asian elephants, calmed the wild elephant during the transfer process. They even allowed villagers and reporters to take pictures with them later.

At one point, the wild elephant tried to break loose when one of the workers sprayed something on its leg and it moved its trunk towards the worker. The worker managed to move away in time while one of the trained elephants calmed it down.

Kampung Luat village chief Ahmad Bakri Ariffin, 52, said the people in the village could not go to the rubber and palm oil plantations as they were afraid they would be attacked by the wild elephants.

“Some of the villagers would come across the wild elephants in their farms but the two did not attack them.

“On Jan 18, we reported to Perhilitan and on Jan 19, they came down to monitor the whereabouts of the elephants and they caught them two days ago,” he said.

Speculating on how the wild elephants got stranded, he said: “Piah Forest Reserve is 5km from our village. Some elephants will get lost because they can’t catch up with their group.”

One of the villagers, Mohd Taharin Mat Hashim, 56, recalled how on midnight of Jan 17, he heard some noise at his rubber plantation and knew it was elephants.

“They were behind my house. I told my family not to come out from their house.

“We could not see them at night but the noise was obvious.

“In the morning when we saw elephant faeces in my plantation and behind my house, I immediately alerted our village chief,” he said, adding that parts of his plantation were damaged by their rampaging.

According to World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), the increasing human population in Asia has affected the elephant’s dense but diminishing forest habitat.

Perhilitan said only 1,200 to 1,500 elephants were left in Malaysia and they were considered an endangered species.

Wild elephant relocated
RAHMAT KHAIRULRIJAL New Straits Times 28 Jan 16;

LENGGONG: The state Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) has successfully relocated one of two wild elephants which were captured at Kampung Luak near here last week.

The pachyderm was relocated to an undisclosed location in Royal Belum State Park today.

Perhilitan director Rozidan Mohd Yasin said the department began tracking the elephants last week following complaints by villagers.

“We brought in two female elephants to guide it into a lorry before moving them," he said.

A total of 20 officers, including those from Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, were involved in the three-hour relocation process that began at 10am.

“The duo are believed to be between 15 and 20 years old.

They were part of a 12-member herd, which had been sighted roaming in the nearby Piah Forest Reserve,” he said after the relocation process here.

He said another elephant, which was a bit aggressive, would be relocated on Saturday.

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