Malaysia: Elephant sanctuary to be set up in Perak next year, says Xavier

Shaarani Ismail New Straits Times 20 Sep 18;

IPOH: The country’s second elephant sanctuary will be built in Perak to address the increasing occurances of human to elephant conflicts in the state.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the Perak Elephant Sanctuary, which will span a 40ha area in Hulu Perak will become the second project of its kind after the one that was being developed in Kota Tinggi, Johor.

“I thank Perak Menteri Besar (Ahmad Faizal Azumu) for allocating the 40ha area (for the sanctuary) because we will need a large area for this effort. The development of the project would start next year,” said Xavier after conducting a courtesy call on Faizal at Bangunan Peral Darul Ridzuan today.

The sanctuary will be built at Km20 of Jalan Raya Gerik-Jeli at a cost of RM28.8 million, and will include a paddock, clinic, food storage facility, office, research office, interpretive centre and gallery.

Faizal said that he welcomed the development of the Perak Elephant Sanctuary as it would address the conflicts between humans and elephants that involved villagers in the state’s rural areas.

“There is an urgent need for such a facility. I have visited the Kemar Post at the Royal Belum state park and I have found that the human-elephant conflicts are a major concern.

“Villagers in the fringes of the forests are living in fear as they crops are being destroyed (by the elephants)

“The sanctuary will be located at the border of Perak and Kelantan, and the state government welcomes the news as it would resolve many problems affecting the people,” said Faizal.

Meanwhile, Xavier said the ministry also discussed on ways to address the issue of the endangered Malayan tiger, which is known to be found in Perak forests.

He said to address the issue, the number of forest rangers will be increased, while police and military personnel would be deployed to help during patrols to prevent illegal hunting activities.

Xavier said efforts were being made to deploy another 50 forest rangers to help the current 12 forest rangers, who were now responsible for patrolling the Royal Belum state park, which is five times the size of Singapore.