Malaysia: Catching wild jumbos a mammoth task

The Star 25 Feb 18;

KOTA KINABALU: An operation to catch two bull pygmy elephants, while preventing another 17 from damaging the property and crops of villagers in Sabah’s central Telupid district, is proving to be a mammoth task.

Rangers from the state’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) have been chased by the animals, which have resisted efforts to push them back into the jungle.

“It is a big group of elephants – around 20 of them are wandering into small farms and plantations.

“The elephants sometimes break up into smaller groups of four to five, making it difficult for the team to control them or push them back into the forest,” WRU acting manager Diana Raminez said yesterday.

“An aggressive cow elephant, which even chased a ranger, was captured around midnight on Feb 21 and the team is now targeting two bull elephants,” said Rami­nez.

The cow elephant was translocated to the Imbak forest reserve.

The team of 10 rangers has been working round the clock to prevent the elephants from causing more damage.

Over the past month, villagers have been terrorised by several aggressive elephants.

The herd includes four calves.

The translocation cost of about RM30,000 per elephant is being funded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.

Among the villages affected are Kg Gambaron 1, Kg Gambaron 2, Kg Batu 4, Kg Bintang-Mas, Kg Bauto, Kg Telupid, Kg Gaab, Kg Lubang Batu and Kg Maliau.

Wildlife rangers working to resolve elephant-human conflict in Telupid
stephanie lee The Star 26 Feb 18;

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife rangers are a step closer towards solving the month-long elephant-human conflict in Sabah’s Telupid district with the capture of three elephants.

According to a statement issued by the Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) on Monday (Feb 26), their rangers were busy trying to capture several of the elephants which have been acting aggressively towards villagers.

The rangers have so far captured three elephants, one of which is an aggressive one, and will be translocating them away from the affected areas soon.

The three - a bull, a cow (female) and a calf - are among the over 20 elephants that have been going into villages and damaging crops to search for food.

The adults have been fitted with satellite collars provided by the Danau Girang Field Centre and this will allow the Wildlife Department to tract and monitor their movements.

Meanwhile, wildlife rangers are still trying to get the herd out of the area and push them back into the forest.

The WRU is funded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council and has been assisting the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) on the capture and translocation of aggressive elephants.

The SWD and WRU together with other agencies such as the Orangutan Appeal UK and Belia Gambaron will continue their operations to get the rest of the elephants out of the villages.

Elephants attack Telupid police station
HAZSYAH ABDUL RAHMAN New Straits Times 28 Feb 18;

TELUPID: The human-elephant conflict here escalated with the latest episode of a herd encroaching the district police station.

During the 9am incident yesterday, about 10 elephants including three baby elephants entered the station and chased after its personnel.

District police chief Superintendent V Shivananthan said the female elephants had acted aggressively by destroying the fence at the station.

"Before the incident, the elephants had already destroyed a portion of the they are able to come in freely.

“We were also chased by the elephants but managed to escape from them,” he said when contacted, adding no one was injured and no other properties damaged except the fence.

Shivananthan said the presence of the herd of elephants was worrying and becoming more serious.

“The elephants have been roaming around at the station almost everyday.

"Besides the station, the elephants are also present outside the hostels of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Telupid,” he said adding the police had met with the Sabah Wildlife Department officer here to discuss the issue.

"The outcome of the meeting is to create a special area behind the school and police station for the elephants,” he said, adding the area, which can be turned into eco-tourism, should also have electric fencing.

He said relevant authority should also obtain land for the elephants and gazette it.

Sabah Wildlife Dept tracks pygmy elephants with satellite collars
POLIANA RONNIE SIDOM New Straits Times 28 Feb 18;

TELUPID: Sabah Wildlife Department has fitted two Borneo pygmy elephants with satellite collars in order to monitor the movement of the herd.

The two elephants are a part of a herd of 20 found roaming around the villages here.

The department’s director Augustine Tuuga said the exercise is meant to monitor the movement of the herd.

Apart from that, the department he said, has thus far captured five elephants including a jumbo at Kampung Gambaron here.

A female elephant has also been translocated to the Imbak Forest Reserve on Monday.

“A mother and a baby elephant are being kept at an enclosure and will be sent to the Imbak Forest Reserve here today.

“Two other male elephants will also be sent to the reserve,” he said.

The New Straits Times Press previously reported villagers in six locations – Kampung Liningkung, Kampung Bauto, Kampung Gambaron, Kampung Telupid, Pekan Telupid and SMK Telupid – were facing conflict with a wild herd of elephants, which are behaving aggressively as they forage for food.

Augustine added that the department is planning to capture another five aggressive, problematic and injured elephants at Kampung Bauto here.

He added the department and wildlife rescue unit are working hard to monitor the animals’ movement to prevent further disturbances to the villagers and damages to the villages.