Malaysia: Jumbos may be moved deeper into Sabah jungles

muguntan vanar The Star 23 Feb 14;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is deciding whether to move a herd of Borneo pygmy elephants deep into its central jungles in efforts to ensure the safety of villagers and also to protect the animals.

The translocation of two of the herd’s more aggressive elephants to Dermakot Forest Reserve was completed over the last two days.

Now, wildlife rangers are studying the possibility of relocating the remaining 17 jumbos.

According to State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, the relocation would protect the elephants as well as villagers and plantations that they encroached into.

A herd of about 30 elephants prowled into orchards and farms belonging to villagers at Kampung Bauto in Telupid, about 300km from here, last week.

Sabah Wildlife Department rangers were able to calm the herd after they tranquilised two “aggressive” females that were later restrained with chains.

The two females were relocated to the Dermakot forest 80km away after rangers fitted them with GPS collars.

Within the last week, at least 10 elephants returned to the Tangkalup forest, while 17 other elephants stayed around. (Tangkalup is linked to the Dermakot Forest Reserve.)

There have been concerns raised by conservationists over human-elephant conflict due to the shrinking natural habitat of the endangered pygmy elephants.

According to Datuk Laurentius Ambu, director of the Sabah Wildlife Department, human-elephant conflict had been on the rise over the last three years.

He also reminded villagers and plantations that they should not kill the protected elephants.

In January last year, a total of 14 elephants were found dead by poisoning in the Gunung Rara forest reserve area.

Marauding elephants sent back to forest reserve
Avila Geraldine New Straits Times 23 Feb 14;

TRANSLOCATION: Animals part of herd that entered Kampung Bauto, destroyed crops

TELUPID: TOURISTS and passers-by got a bonus wildlife sighting as they witnessed the translocation of elephants by the roadside near Kampung Bauto here.

The Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) of the state Wildlife Department translocated three elephants to the Deramakot forest reserve yesterday.

Bystanders watched in awe as rangers brought the elephants into a cage and transported them in a truck. Tourists who were passing by the area took the opportunity to snap photographs during the translocation.

The mammals were part of a herd of 30 that had repeatedly entered the village, 12km from here, and destroyed crops.

Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said WRU rangers were still in the area to monitor the movement of elephants.

"There is a smaller group of elephants in the village area. The animals may need to be translocated, too.

"More than half of the herd returned to the Tangkulap forest reserve, 15km from the village, which is connected to the Deramakot forest reserve, where they are originally from."

The presence of the 30 elephants had spooked Kampung Bauto villagers living near the forest reserve. The animals had been spotted roaming close to the villagers' houses over the past week.

On Monday, WRU rangers had approached the herd to chase it away.

Baby elephants adapting well to temporary home in Sepilok
ruben sario The Star 25 Feb 14;

KOTA KINABALU: Two male elephant calves rescued from plantations in Sabah’s east coast on Feb 12 are adapting well to their temporary home at Sepilok in Sandakan district.

Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said one of the calves, Jimbo, had gained 9kg and now weighed 88.6kg.

“Jimbo is now drinking 2.5 litres of milk at a time,” he said, adding that the navel of the recently-born calf was almost completely dry.

He said the other calf, Tun Tan, was consuming slightly more milk at three litres in one go.

Dr Sen said Tun Tan’s weight had increased by 7kg and it now weighed 117.8kg.

He said both calves had been placed in a new enclosure at the department’s rehabilitation centre in Sepilok as Jimbo had found a way to get out of the smaller holding area near the veterinary clinic.

The calves were found at separate locations in Kinabatangan.

Jimbo was found at an estate in Sg Lokan after wildlife rangers received a report from the plantation manager.

Tun Tan was found in a plantation near Sukau and followed a tractor driven by a plantation worker back to the kongsi area where it was picked up by rangers.

Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu had said they were uncertain of the fate of Jimbo’s and Tun Tan’s mothers.

Rangers have been scouring areas in Kinabatangan to locate the elephant cows but until now have not found any traces of them.

There were growing concerns that the calves’ mothers may have been poisoned as part of efforts to stop the herd from marauding in farms or plantations.

Another possibility is that the calves were separated from their herd when people or plantation workers tried to shoo them away.