Malaysia: Elephants on rampage, trampling crops, scaring villagers

INTAN BAHA New Straits Times 9 Nov 16;

LENGGONG: Eight wild elephants have been making lives of the villagers at Kampung Chepor a nightmare for the past two weeks.

The villagers, mostly rubber tappers, have not had a good night’s sleep as they live in fear of the next attack.

The wild elephants are said to have trampled on precious crops and the residents fear for their safety.

In the most recent incident, last night a herd of elephants made their way into the village and destroyed crops as well as trampled on dozens of banana trees.

Tarmizi Ghazali, the village’s headman said the herd came after dusk destroying the crops and making loud noises, which sent residents scurrying away.

He added that the residents were only able to watch from afar and did not dare chase the herd away.

He claimed that the elephants have destroyed almost half of the crops on a piece of 12-hectare land.

The crops on the former paddy field are managed by the villagers under a land rehabilitation programme, which is an important side income for the villagers.

According to Tarmizi, various efforts have been done to scare the herd away.

The residents have even resorted to building bonfires and setting off fire crackers, all of which have failed.

He said the 600 farmers in the village are very worried about the situation as the elephants, believed to have come from the Sungai Siput forest, would come every night for the past two weeks.

The Gerik Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) Peninsular Malaysia have sent four personnel to monitor the situation after the department was contacted.

Checks show that a four kilometre electric fence built seven years ago around the village was not fully functional as fallen trees have damaged parts of the barrier.

Tarmizi said that so far, no repair works have been carried out.

The residents hope that the authorities will take appropriate action soon.

Enraged elephant attacks couple in Tawau
AVILA GERALDINE New Straits Times 10 Nov 16;

TAWAU: A couple sustained serious injuries when they were attacked by an elephant at the Brumas estate area here, on Wednesday.

In the 6.15am incident, Santoko Satria, 44, and his wife Susie Sudirman were on their way to work at a timber plantation when they came in contact with the elephant.

District police chief Assistant Commissioner Fadil Marsus said the animal suddenly went berserk and began chasing the couple.

"It attacked them with its trunk, tossing them in the air, causing them to land hard on the ground.

"The wild elephant then chased and trampled the woman before fleeing into the forest."

He said the woman sustained serious bodily and face injuries.

Both victims were brought to the district hospital for treatment.

Bull elephant injures couple having breakfast
MUGUNTAN VANAR The Star 11 Nov 16;

KOTA KINABALU: A couple was injured in an attack by a lone bull elephant at the Brumas timber plantation in Sabah’s east coast Tawau district.

Indonesian Susi Sudiman, 36, who was stomped on during the attack, remains in critical condition at the Tawau district hospital from serious spinal injury as well as rib fractures.

Her husband Santoko Santra, 40, was slightly injured in the chest after being hit by the elephant’s trunk during the incident that had taken place just as the couple were having breakfast at their work site with five other workers at 6.15am on Wednesday.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said yesterday they had yet to get full details of the incident and could not immediately ascertain if the workers were attacked without provocation.

“Witnesses told us that they were having breakfast when the elephant attacked,” he said.

Tuuga said rangers were now tracking down the bull elephant, which might be travelling with a herd.

“My men have spotted some elephant tracks. We believe we will close in on the bull elephant and its herd,” he said.

However, he said no decision had been made to translocate the elephants or shoo the animals into the Gunung Rara forest reserve.

Tuuga said the forest reserve was some distance away from the Brumas plantation area, and translocating the animals to other reserves might be an alternative.

It is still not clear if the elephant was in musk (when bulls become more aggressive due to higher testosterone levels during the mating period) when it attacked the couple or was startled by the sudden presence of the workers.

Endangered Borneo Pygmy elephants are usually seen in the plantation but this has not hindered workers from carrying out their work.

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