Malaysia: Dept expects more human-elephant encounters around Lahad Datu

RUBEN SARIO The Star 30 Mar 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Instances of humans encountering wildlife around Lahad Datu are expected to increase due to the opening of more forests in the area, said the Sabah Wildlife Department.

This follows an incident in Kampung Jawa, near Lahad Datu, on March 19 when when two bull elephants damaged oil palm crops and ate fruits grown by villagers.

The elephants were tracked down in a five-day search and were moved to the Kawag forest reserve last Sunday.

"We will likely see more of elephant intrusions closer to Lahad Datu town in time to come," said the department’s wildlife rescue unit acting manager Dr Diana Ramirez.

She said this is because it is easier for elephants to move around as more areas between the Danum Valley and Lahad Datu are being cleared.

Dr Ramirez said this was not the first human-elephant encounter in Lahad Datu as 10 elephants were translocated from Bikang in 2013.

Last year, 24 elephants were translocated after they were found roaming in an area between Kampung Sri Putatan and Kampung Binuang, less than 10km from Lahad Datu.

There are an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 elephants in Sabah.


Wild elephants moved to forest reserve after wreaking havoc in village
OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 31 Mar 17;

LAHAD DATU: Two bull elephants had been moved to the Kawag Forest Reserve after they wreaked havoc at Kampung Jawa here.

Sabah Wildlife Department’s wildlife rescue unit received a report on the presence of the two elephants last week at the village located about 2km from the town.

The unit acting manager Dr Diana Ramirez said a team of officers were dispatched to the location to capture the elephants to prevent further damages.

It was reported that the elephants have been destroying and feeding on the villagers’ crop and even went near the houses.

“This is the first time wild elephants from the Danum Valley elephant population made their way so close to Lahad Datu township.

“This is probably because much of the land area between Danum Valley and Seri Perdana has been opened for human dwellings, fruit orchards and oil palm plantations,” she said in a statement.

Ramirez added that there were possibilities of more elephant encroaching into the town as many areas between the valley and town had been cleared.

The team, assisted by villagers and stakeholders, managed to capture and translocate the elephants to the forest reserve on Sunday after intensive tracking for five days.

In 2013, the unit had translocated 10 elephants from Bikang here, and in 2015, 24 elephants were also moved from Kg Sri Putatan. Both areas were located less than 10km from town.


Sabah may see more jumbo conflicts
STEPHANIE LEE The Star 2 Apr 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Elephant-human conflicts are increasing in Sabah’s east coast with more land being opened up for agricultural purposes.

There is growing concern among wildlife officials because the latest case last week happened barely two kilometres away from Lahad Datu town.

“We expect to see all areas from Sandakan towards south Kalabakan up to Sapulut, Maliau Basin, becoming hotbeds for such encounters,” said Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga.

On March 19, two bull Borneo pygmy elephants damaged oil palm crops and ate fruits grown by villagers.

The elephants were tracked down in a five-day search and were moved to the Kawag forest reserve last Sunday.

Tuuga said such encounters between man and animal often result in loss of crops and even injuries involving both parties.

“We have records of such incidents with the animal or human injured or attacked. We are still compiling the cases in each district,” he said.

The situation, he said, would worsen if the animals had nowhere else to go due to rapid development.

To address the problem, Tuuga advised estate and plantation operators to install electric fences.

In 2013, 10 elephants were translocated in the Bikang area of Lahad Datu.

Last year, 24 elephants were translocated after they were found roaming in an area between Kampung Sri Putatan and Kampung Binuang, less than 10km from Lahad Datu.

There are an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 elephants in Sabah.

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