Malaysia: New home for 3 wild elephants

M Hamzah Jamaludin New Straits Times 23 Dec 11;

BENTONG: THE Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) successfully relocated three out of five wild elephants that were captured in Kampung Troh near here, last week.

The pachyderms were relocated to an undisclosed location in Taman Negara on Wednesday.

Twenty State Perhilitan employees, including those from the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, were involved in the seven-hour relocation process of the two adult females and a year-old calf, which began at 8am.

Another two male elephants -- a 15-year-old and a 30-year-old -- will be relocated to the same area tomorrow.

The wild elephants were part of a large herd in Kemasul Forest Reserve which had encroached into nearby villages and destroyed crops for the past few years.

State Perhilitan director Khairiah Mohd Shariff said her staff had to use a tranquilliser on the calf after it tried to attack them.

The department had also used two tame elephants, Che Mek and Kala, to help in moving the two adult pachyderms into a lorry.

"Apart from the two relocation elephants, villagers also helped us move the wild animals into the lorry," said Khairiah, who supervised the relocation process.

Also present was Sabai state assemblyman Datuk M. Davendran.

Khairiah said the wild animals would have a bigger area to roam around in the national park.

"This is the biggest translocation exercise in the last five years."

Khairiah also congratulated her staff for their efficiency in handling the capture and relocation tasks.

She believes that between 20 and 25 wild elephants are still roaming in the Kemasul Forest Reserve.

Khairiah said there was still a possibility that the animals would encroach into the nearby villages here and in Temerloh.

The encroachments were more rampant during the fruit season, she added.

"The villagers should alert us if they come across the elephants.

"Early information would help us capture them before they can damage crops or harm people."

She advised the villagers not to risk their lives by taking things into their own hands.

"They can also be charged if they harm the animals."