Malaysia: Villagers create WhatsApp group for elephant alert

The Star 17 Dec 16;

KOTA TINGGI: Alarmed by the appearances of wild elephants at their village, Batu 10 Kampung Mawai Baru residents have created a WhatsApp group to alert each other in case the uninvited guests come a-knocking again.

The group aims at informing the residents of such sightings as the large mammals always trample their crops and vases.

Mohamad Khairul Nizam Mohideen, 21, an active member in the group, said he witnessed two elephants trampling on his neighbour’s banana trees at around 2am last Tuesday.

“I was chatting with my brother while my parents were asleep. I heard loud thumping and elephant noises coming from a few metres away,” he told The Star at his home yesterday.

Although there were no reports of injuries from the incidents, which have been occurring over the years, villagers were concern about their crops and properties.

Mohamad Khairul said he recalled seeing the wild animals in the village when he was eight years old, but they never appeared again until some five years ago.

“The elephants usually target houses with fruit trees as they might be looking for food,” he said.

Trader Noraini Che Musa, 49, said the appearance of the wild animals was not new for the village.

“Whenever such incidents occur in our village, we will report to the police and the Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan), and wildlife officers will take immediate action by conducting checks at the affected areas.

“As long as no one is injured, I think everything is fine as our village is quite near to the jungle,” she said.

Noraini added that the village’s women committee also had a meeting to advise the residents not to approach the animals whenever they appeared.

When contacted, a Johor Perhilitan spokesman said the two elephants that appeared last week came from Hutan Lipur Panti.

“They belong to a herd of about 28 elephants. It is common for two or three mischievous ones to stray into villages nearby,” he said.

He said the department would continue to monitor the situation.

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