Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sabah to review logging concessions after elephant deaths



KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Government will review logging concessions in “critical” areas where dead pygmy elephants have been discovered recently.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the state government will review the current concessions, including those under Forest Management Units, as they might be related to the deaths.

“We have to assess concessions in water catchment areas where there is wildlife. If the concessions are in accordance with the law, then they will be continued,” he said, adding that concessionaires practising “unhealthy" habits will be penalised.

Shafie said he will be meeting Forestry Department officials next week to discuss the matter further.


He said other problems highlighted to him included illegal logging in gazetted forest reserves.

“Although timber is a form of revenue for the state government, it is important for us to examine the problem in depth.

“We do not want this source of revenue to cause environmental problems in Sabah,” said Shafie after the state Cabinet meeting.

The carcasses of six endangered Bornean pygmy elephants in the east coast of Sabah aged between one and 37 years were discovered separately from April 6 to May 20.

The deaths have raised concerns over the well-being of the elephants, which number around 2,000 in the wild.

On the temporary ban of logs exported outside the state, Mohd Shafie said the logs could only be sold for the domestic market to meet demand such as from furniture factories.

“The development of the local logging industry will also provide more job opportunities to Sabahans.

“I am confident that with this move, we will be able to develop the industry,” he said, adding the ban would not affect the state’s income.

At a separate function, Shafie said a unit to monitor key performance index (KPI) in each ministry in the state would be set up.

Shafie said an annual report would be made on the KPI evaluation of every ministry.


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Wildlife Dept chases 25 elephants back into jungle



LAHAD DATU, June 2 — The Lahad Datu District Wildlife Department is conducting an operation to drive 25 elephants to their original habitat in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve area after they were seen wandering around Kg Teburi and Kampung Sri Darun near here.

Its officer, Silvester Saimin, said 16 personnel were involved in the operation which was carried out during the day while they stood guard at night, after receiving complaints from the villagers, since May 21.

“We scare off the elephants by making a lot of noise,” he said when contacted here, today.

Silvester said a check at both villages found that the wild elephants had damaged the villagers’ crops, but did not disturb the residents.

The 25 elephants from the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, which bordered the villages, had encroached into the Bagahak 1 plantation but intruded into the human settlements after they were disturbed by activities to fell old oil palm trees in the plantation for replanting, he added. — Bernama


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Stop sacrificing our pygmies for palm oil



Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is shocked to learn of the death of six more pygmy elephants, deaths which have been happening ad nauseam for several years now.

Elephants are not an exception because the carnage to turtles and sharks has been making headlines in the previous year, which is reflective of poor government protection. That the slaughter is happening frequently can only mean that those entrusted with the task of protection are not doing enough.

So far those responsible for these kills have not been charged, and the cause of death of the pygmies and others have yet to be established. Most killings end with unresolved investigations.

Knowing how critically endangered the pygmy elephants are, the stakes for this species’ survival are too high for incidents of this sort to happen again. The same can be said for the many other animal species which are currently fighting to survive in Sabah which is plagued by palm oil production.

While the palm oil industry’s crippling blow to the orangutan species is monumental, the industry has the blood of other species on their hands as well.

The news of the deaths of these elephants has put a huge negative spotlight on Sabah. Sadly Malaysia is sacrificing its elephants for palm oil.

Recognising the high demand and huge profits that are associated with palm oil, the industry has stopped at nothing to produce as much of this commodity as possible. With the expansion of deforestation and the proliferation of palm oil plantations, elephants are finding it difficult to find food and thus are forced to feed on the fruits of the palm oil plant.


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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ordeal over for chained elephant



GERIK: A wild elephant that was caught near the Titiwangsa Rest and Relax (R&R) area and chained by the side of the Timur Barat Highway has been relocated by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) today.

After having been chained for seven days much to the dismay of social media users, Perhilitan's operation to relocate the elephant was aided by the National Elephant Conservation Centre, the police as well as the People's Volunteer Corps (Rela).

It is understood that the elephant had been spotted roaming near the R&R before it was captured and chained.

Perak Perhilitan deputy director Wan Shaharuddin Wan Nordin said the operation began at 9am with the help of two other elephants, Rambai and Abot, which were brought in by the conservation centre.

Police helped to cordon off the area and close the roads in order to ensure public safety, Wan Shaharuddin said.

The elephant, estimated to be about 20 years old, was moved by a lorry to its natural habitat.

Meanwhile, Gerik district police chied Supt Ismail Che Isa when contacted said his men from Bersia police station were sent to help with the relocation process.

"I understand the elephant was moved to the Sungai Deka forest in Terengganu," he said, informing that the operation was a success and the elephant was not harmed in the process.

Pictures and video of the elephant chained by the highway has since gone viral with many expressing their anger over the animal's limited movement due to the chains.



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6 pygmy elephants found dead in Sabah in recent weeks



KUALA LUMPUR: Six Borneo pygmy elephants have been found dead in oil palm plantations in Sabah in recent weeks, officials said Monday, the latest of the endangered creatures to perish as their rainforest habitat is devastated.

The carcasses of the elephants, aged between one and 37, were discovered at different locations in Sabah, local Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga told AFP.

“We are currently conducting tests on their internal organs,” he said, adding the carcasses did not have any signs of gunshot wounds.


Tuuga said the elephants could have accidentally consumed fertiliser in the palm oil plantations, which could have poisoned them.

The Star newspaper, citing conservationists, said the creatures might have drunk from poisoned watering holes.

There are about 2,000 pygmy elephants, the smallest type of elephants in Asia, in the wild. Late last year, three were killed by poachers.

In 2013, 14 pygmy elephants were found dead in Sabah and were thought to have been poisoned.

They are threatened by widespread logging of their natural habitat to make way for lucrative oil palm plantations, and are targeted by poachers as their ivory fetches a high price on the black market.

The pygmy elephants are baby-faced with oversized ears, plump bellies and tails so long they sometimes drag on the ground as they walk.


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Elephant killed in early morning crash with trailer



KOTA TINGGI: An adult female elephant died after the startled animal charged a trailer at Batu 13 along the Jalan Mersing-Kota Tinggi road here.

Johor Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director Jamalun Nasir Ibrahim said the incident occurred near the Panti forest reserve at around 2am on Monday morning (May 21).

He said initial investigations found that the incident happened when the driver of another car turned on the high beam of his headlights when he saw a herd of elephants crossing the road.

“This startled one of the elephants and it was hit by a trailer which was travelling from Terengganu to Singapore. The elephant died at the scene and was less than ten years old,” said Jamalun.



He advised any road users not to provoke animals by honking or turning on their high beam to avoid startling the animal and provoking it to attack.

Kota Tinggi OCPD Supt Ashmon Bajah confirmed that the incident took place and said the driver did not suffer any injuries.


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Landowners in Sabah should be held liable if elephants die on their land proposes WWF Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/05/23/landowners-in-sabah-should-be-held-liable-if-elephants-die-on-their-land-proposes-wwf/#miAmxIgLgoVYiEbE.99



KOTA KINABALU: Landowners should be held accountable if an elephant dies on their land.

This is one proposal by WWF-Malaysia, in response to the alarming finding of six carcasses of Borneo elephants in eastern Sabah within six weeks.

The conservation NGO underlined that this proposal was actually first brought up by Sabah's Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, when an amendment to the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 was suggested.

This provision will reverse the burden of proof, which would no longer lie with the prosecutors.

“Industries and landowners need to be held more accountable for the death of elephants on their land. With more accountability, we believe that the industry players will be more inclined to take necessary measures to prevent elephant deaths as well as to conserve this iconic species,” stressed WWF-Malaysia Executive Director / CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma.


To read the full article, click on the story title 



Sabah to engage consultant to study how best to handle human-elephant conflict



KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew announced several short and long term measures to address the elephant situation and deaths in the state.

During the first meeting with the Ministry’s Head of Departments and perm…


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No gunshot wounds found on dead elephant



KOTA KINABALU: The cause of death of an elephant found floating in the Kinabatangan River last weekened is not yet known.

However, following an autopsy that was done yesterday, Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said no gunshot wounds were found on the elephant, believed to be about three years old.

"A post-mortem was completed at 2pm (yesterday). But no wounds were found on its body and the elephant did not die from gunshot, infact no bullets were found in the elephant's body.

"We are still unable to ascertain the cause of death for now and we have taken samples of its internal organs for further analysis," he said when contacted.

When asked if the elephant could have been poisoned, Augustine said they would have to wait for results from the analysis.

Last week, a photo of the dead elephant, believed to have been found at a river near the Danau Girang Research Centre in Kinabatangan, along with two voicenotes went viral on WhatsApp.

Sabah Wildlife Department then confirmed they received a report on the discovery and sent in a team which included a veterinarian to the scene.


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State Govt reward for info on jumbo killers



Kota Kinabalu: The State Government will offer a reward to those with information that can lead to the arrest of those who kill pygmy elephants.

Newly-appointed State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew said on Tuesday that the policy will be reactivated to deal with the cause of the killing of the species down at its roots.

She said the killing of pygmy elephants in Sabah is "getting worse", expressing sadness that one of the elephants killed was only about a year old.

"The Ministry will also reactivate the giving of rewards to witnesses. Anybody in the plantations who see elephants being killed and is willing to come forward as a witness will be rewarded," she told a press conference after attending a briefing session with ministry officials on its functions. It was her first day in office.

Liew said the reward policy is one of the measures the Ministry will take to bring elephant killers to justice.

The short term measures she said are to increase the number of field rangers in plantations and to engage with a consultant to advice the State Government on how best to deal with the human-elephant conflict.

She said the ministry has identified an expert but has yet to engage the person.

She also said that the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal had called her regarding the deaths of the six pygmy elephants. Shafie was reportedly puzzled why the elephant killing still occurred despite many claims of solutions from the previous government.

He was quoted as saying that the previous government perhaps did not have the political will to push through more drastic actions that would affect logging companies and plantations.

He demanded no more lip service but insisted on seeing short and long-term conservation plans to be implemented on a fast track basis.

He also promised that the Warisan government will facilitate the efforts and will not bow dowm to pressure from any groups.

The latest incident was reported following the discovery of an elephant carcass, believed to be a baby elephant, floating in Sungai Kinabatangan last Saturday. - Leonard Alaza


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Call to set up elephant-friendly zone to resolve human-elephant conflict in Sabah



TELUPID: Establishing an elephant-friendly zone with easy access for Bornean pygmy elephants to look for food can help tackle the problem of these animals intruding into settlements. …Maybe (we) need to establish an elephant-friendly zone here where there is easy access (for the wildlife) to get food such as bananas and grass, among others,” he said. Establishing an elephant-friendly zone with easy access for Bornean pygmy elephants to look for food can help tackle the problem of these animals intruding into settlements. Forever Sabah project coordinator Claudia Lasimbang also shared a similar view about setting up an elephant-friendly zone, adding such projects were aimed at identifying suitable locations for wild elephants to roam. “The creation of an elephant zone will encourage the rehabilitation of selected areas with food sources and elephant safety as priority,” she said.


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Sunday, May 06, 2018

Elephant in rest area along highway terrifies travellers



KUALA LUMPUR: Travellers who stopped at the R&R near Puncak Titiwangsa, Gerik, were terrified when an elephant appeared at the rest and relax area before destroying fences in the compound.

Wildlife and National Park Department (Perhilitan) director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said his officers in Gerik received information about the elephant from the police.

“Five Perhilitan officers rushed to the R&R along East - West Highway upon receiving the information. When the team arrived, the elephant had, however, re-entered the nearby forest.

“No unwanted incident happened, and the elephant only destroyed the fences at the R&R,” he said when contacted today.

According to the photos taken by the R&R workers, it was a male elephant with a foot size around 38.1cm.

Photo of the 3m tall elephant appearing and destroying fences at the R&R has gone viral on the social media.

Kadir added that following the incident, Perhilitan would monitor the area as a preventive measure to avoid untoward incidents.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Borneo’s elephants prefer degraded forests, a new study finds



Conservation-minded planners often pick places with the fewest signs of human impact for protection, and, across the tropics, pristine rainforests with the tallest trees often rise to the top of the list.

But safeguarding specific so-called “degraded” areas as conservation targets is also important, especially when they constitute the best habitat for threatened species. A new study supports that conclusion: It confirmed that Bornean elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis), considered by some scientists to be a subspecies of the endangered Asian elephant, actually prefer disturbed forests with shorter trees to denser primary forests.

“There are obviously many benefits of protecting primary forests,” said Luke Evans, an ecologist with the Danau Girang Field Centre in Malaysia and the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, and lead author of the paper. “We’re just saying that, for elephants, it’s not particularly useful.”

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Malaysia signs Chinese firm for environmental protection initiative in major rail project



PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia's Department of Wildlife and National Parks under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE), on Tuesday signed a memorandum of agreement with China Communications Construction Company Ltd. (CCCC), the main contractor for the 688-kilometer East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), to tackle possible environmental issues caused by the project.

According to the agreement, the CCCC will work together with NRE experts to take crucial measures to ensure the rail project complies with environmental requirements.

The CCCC would build wildlife underpasses at 29 strategic locations to allow wildlife to move freely despite the railway line passing through, said Bai Yinzhan, executive managing director of a CCCC subsidiary in Malaysia in a press release. He added that numerous elevated viaducts, with a possible length of 128 kilometers in total, will also be built so that wildlife can roam as they normally would and be protected.

Moreover, the CCCC will earmark 9.15 million ringgit (2.34 million U.S. dollars) to help NRE undertake wildlife relocation and related programs, according to the press release.

Touted by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as a game changer for the Malaysian economy, ECRL will link Port Klang in the west coast of peninsular Malaysia with the east coast. But some environmental concerns were raised as the rail alignment traverse a large swathe of forest reserve, in which tigers, elephants and jungle cats live.

When attending the signing ceremony, NRE minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar defended the government's efforts for wildlife and environment protection, saying a Wildlife Management Plan (WMP) was also launched along with the rail project. He said the plan would minimize and monitor the impact on wildlife and their habitats along key stretches of the ECRL.

Construction for the ECRL began in last August and is expected to be fully delivered and operational by 2024.

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Sabah now looking at long-term elephant conflict solution



The six-week elephant invasion in one of Sabah’s interior districts has compelled state authorities to look into long-term solutions that can prevent such human-wildlife conflicts in the future.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the conflict has become a major cause of concern that has to be addressed in the long term.

“I have asked the director of wildlife to give a briefing this week. We recognise the fact that it’s a real problem and we are going to discuss the options available to us,” he said.

A herd of about 20 elephants caused damage to crops and human property in some 10 villages around the Telupid district, while others have reportedly casually strolled through school grounds and wandered into the district police station.

The Sabah Wildlife Department and Wildlife Rescue Unit have been on a 24-hour watch trying to ensure that the animals do not come into close contact with humans.

Wildlife Rescue Unit acting manager Diana Ramirez said that they have so far captured six elephants as of now that are meant for relocation in a wildlife reserve.

“I think the fact that all these incidents that happened in the last one week or month should make us think hard about the options that are available to us, not only to solve it now, but for the long term,” said Masidi.

“All of us the stakeholders need to sit down and work out the solutions. We can’t forever be doing things on an ad hoc basis,” he said, adding that the authorities will meet later this week to discuss the matter before bringing in the stakeholders.

Another challenge is the high cost of translocation at RM20,000 to RM30,000 per elephant.

Elephant and human conflict has been on the rise in recent years as Sabah’s vast forests have been converted into agricultural land or opened up to development.

Biologists predicted the increase in such conflict but little has been done to create wildlife corridors for elephants and other animals which are used to roaming freely over large areas without restriction.

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Baby elephant causes Telupid traffic jam



TELUPID: Drivers were curious for the odd traffic jam near town here at around 10am today, which they later found was caused by a ‘cute’ obstacle.

A baby elephant was seen wandering on its own on the road, blocking cars on both lanes from passing through.

Wildlife Department Director Augustine Tuuga said that Wildlife Rescue Unit personnel from the department were informed and went to the location to drive the elephant away from the road.

The baby elephant was successfully reunited with its mother in the afternoon.

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Elephant found shot dead in Perak with tusks and trunk removed



GERIK: A 30-year-old male elephant was found shot to death at Hutan Piah here, with its trunk and tusks removed.

Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order director Comm Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abdullah said the animal is believed to have been killed a week ago.

"The dead animal was found some 15km from the main road of Jalan Gerik-Kuala Kangsar," he said.

Comm Zulkifli said that the animal was shot three times, twice in its head and once more in its rear.

"A bullet was found lodged in the right buttock of the animal," he said during a press conference at the Gerik police station here on Tuesday (March 13).

He said upon receiving a tip off, a team comprising the police, General Operation Forces and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, arrested four men aged between 40 and 49 at various locations on Sunday (Mar 11).

"One of them led the police to a house in Kampung Padang Jeri here where they found two rifles, two homemade shotguns, RM10,500 in cash, 255 bullets, wire traps, machetes, chainsaw and various hunting equipment.

"We also seized a deer horn and seven bone fragments, believed to be from a tiger," he said.

"All four suspects will be remanded until March 18 to be investigated for possessing illegal firearms, unlicensed weapons or ammunitions and for carrying weapons in public," he added.

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Thirty-Year-Old Elephant Found Shot Dead In Malaysia



Malaysian police are investigating after a 30-year-old elephant was found dead. Having been shot twice in the head and once in its rear, the bull's trunk and tusks had also been removed.

According to Malaysian news outlet the Star Online, Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order director, Commander Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abdullah said the elephant is thought to have been killed a week ago.

"The dead animal was found some 15km from the main road of Jalan Gerik-Kuala Kangsar," he said.

After receiving a tip-off, a team including police, General Operation Forces (the light infantry arm of the Royal Malaysia Police) and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks arrested four men aged between 40 and 49 at various locations on Sunday.

"One of them led the police to a house in Kampung Padang Jeri where they found two rifles, two homemade shotguns, RM10,500 (£1,900 / $2,700) in cash, 255 bullets, wire traps, machetes, chainsaw and various hunting equipment," said Zulkifli.

"We also seized a deer horn and seven bone fragments, believed to be from a tiger. All four suspects will be remanded until March 18 to be investigated for possessing illegal firearms, unlicensed weapons or ammunitions and for carrying weapons in public."

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Elephant poachers arrested in Malaysia



Four heavily armed poachers who targeted wild elephants in Malaysia have been caught, officials said Tuesday, the second such arrest in less than two years.

Wildlife officials said the gang caught near the town of Gerik in the northern Malaysian state of Perak was found with deer antlers and suspected tiger bones.

A joint police and wildlife department investigation also led the agents to find an elephant shot dead by the poachers in a nearby forest with its tusks ripped out.

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A Gang of Ivory Poachers is Nabbed in Gerik


Operation Gading in Gerik took three days and required 40 officers, but success did beckon at the end of it. Under arrest are four professional hunters who may have killed as many as 20 wild elephants for their tusks in Malaysia over the past decade.

The joint team from the Royal Malaysian Police and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) nabbed the four local men, aged between 40 and 50, during a well-coordinated operation. The officials discovered the men were in possession of several high-powered firearms, 255 bullets, 13 snares and various animal remains like deer antlers and tiger bones.

“Among items seized were RM10,500 in cash believed to be from the sales of elephant ivory; four firearms including a .458 rifle, two homemade shotguns and a Colt M15 as well as five homemade gun barrels,” Zulkifli Abdullah, director of the Internal Security and Public Order Department, was quoted as saying by the Bernama news agency.

“This is a notorious gang of poachers that the Wildlife Department has been tracking since 2009. We believe the tusks from the elephant have been sold by the group to foreign buyers,” Zulkifli added. “We hope this serves as a lesson to other groups to stop this kind of illegal activity and we will continue to work with Perhilitan to enforce the law.”

The four suspects are facing several charges for illegally possessing firearms while they are also being investigated for breaking the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 by possessing snares and wildlife parts.

“Forests in northern Peninsular Malaysia are often a target of poachers because they are rich in iconic endangered species including tiger, elephant and bear,” the anti-wildlife trade watchdog TRAFFIC explains. “On 10th February 2017, a gang of seven men who were part of an elephant poaching gang were arrested with explosives, guns and parts of tusks in the state of Kelantan, which is also located in northern Peninsular Malaysia. Follow-up raids uncovered two elephant tusks, dried elephant meat and other wildlife parts.”

Over the past years several wild elephants are known to have been killed, either gunned down or poisoned, around Malaysia. In several cases the carcasses of the pachyderms were discovered without their tusks, indicating that poachers had been targeting the animals for their ivory. In fact, members of the team that caught the four poachers also found the remains of a male Asian Elephant in nearby Piah Forest. The elephant had died from gunshot wounds to the head and had its tusks sawn off.


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Friday, March 16, 2018

Animal activists: Bad idea to relocate wild elephant that attacked lorry driver

Animal activists are not keen on the idea of tracking down and relocating a wild elephant that attacked a lorry driver last week as suggested by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
Former Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Prof Maketab Mohamed said relocating the elephant will not solve any problems.
“This idea is absurd. How will relocating the elephant solve any problem? On top of that, how about other elephants in the area? Does the ministry plan to relocate all of them?” he asked. 
Speaking to Malay Mail, Maketab said the authorities should instead investigate why the elephant attacked the lorry driver.
“There is a possibility that the victim had tried to take photos of the mammal and the flash from the mobile phone could have triggered the attack,” he said.
On Feb 2, a 69-year-old lorry driver suffered broken bones and serious injuries to his neck after he was attacked by a wild elephant near Gerik.
M. Paramanazan, from Sungai Siput Utara, was stomped by the elephant along KM19 of the East-West Highway at 4.30pm after he stopped his lorry to look at the wild beast.
After the incident, Wan Junaidi was reported as saying that the ministry would track down and relocate the elephant in question.
He said the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) would move the elephant to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary (National Elephant Conservation Centre).
Maketab said before making major decision, the ministry should advise motorists travelling along the Gerik to Jeli Highway to not provoke the animals if they ever come across it.
“Even honking at the elephants, can be a dangerous move as the noise might irritate them,” he said.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said it would be an uphill task for Perhilitan to track down the elephant as its roaming grounds covered Temenggor to Royal Belum.
 “Even if you find the herd, how would you determine which elephant actually trampled the lorry driver?” he asked.
 Agreeing with Maketab that the cause of the attack should be determined first, Meor Razak said the elephant would not have attacked the victim without being provoked first.
He also suggested that Perhilitan provide more information to motorists instead of just putting up animal crossing signboards.
“Presently, the signboards only warn motorists of passing elephants in the area. There should be a do’s and dont’s if one encounters a herd of elephants,” he added.

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Man seriously injured after being trampled by elephant on Malaysian highway

GERIK, Perak: A man was seriously injured after he was trampled by an elephant on Malaysia's Gerik-Jeli East-West Highway between Perak and Kelantan, at about 4.30pm on Thursday (Feb 1). Gerik police chief Superintendent Ismail Che Isa said the victim, Mr M Paramanazan, 69, fractured his left arm ...

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Malaysian elephant roams into Yala, kills rubber tapper

A rubber tapper in Yala, age 75, was killed early Tuesday by a wild elephant that had ventured across the border from Malaysia.

Chaiwat In-on, assistant chief of Bannang Sata, was alerted at 7.30am of the death of Sao Somyos, a resident of Moo 5 village in Tambon Tham Thalu.

The man’s severely damaged body was lying near his hut on the rubber plantation, surrounded by elephant footprints.

Sansern Thep-osoth, chief of Bang Lang National Park, said the animal was a wild elephant that had crossed through the border forest from Malaysia.
Sansern said park officials had already driven it back once, but it was lured by crops on the Thai side.

A wild elephant killed another villager in Yala’s Betong district several months ago, he noted.

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Julia's epic bike ride to help free elephant Lasah raises £3,192

THE campaign to free a 37-year-old Malaysian elephant has been boosted thanks to a Windermere woman cycling non-stop for 12 hours.

Cyclist Julia Savory and her supporters have so far raised £3,192 to raise awareness of the international bid to get captive Lasah into a sanctuary - far exceeding her £2,000 target.

The wild-born creature appeared in a 1999 Hollywood movie called Anna and the King which starred Jodie Foster as an English governess to the King of Siam’s children. Lasah is now used to give elephant rides in Malaysia.


Animal lover Julia embarked on her static-bike marathon to help raise the profile of efforts to free Lasah more than 6,5000 miles away in tropical Malaysia, South East Asia.

She began pedalling at the National Trust's straw-bale Footprint building, near Windermere, at 7am on Saturday, February 3, feeling "nervous but glad to get on with it".

Julia told the Gazette how grateful she was to other riders who joined her, saying: "They brought energy with them that gave my legs a boost. Gill and Malcolm Mead, from Ambleside, arrived first and cycled from 11am to 1pm. Then Joan Mccadden, from Kendal Cycle Club, arrived at noon for her two-hour ride."

Well-wishers arrived throughout the afternoon, and at 3pm Julia said she "hit the wall". Feeling weary, she could not eat and it was all she could do to keep going. She added: "Luckily at 4pm Tim Price, from Kendal Cycle Club, arrived to do his three-hour stint. Thank goodness! His pace was good and although I couldn’t match it, it was a good boost."

At 7pm when Julia finally stopped she said she felt "exhausted, elated and humbled", and there was "no way" she could not have completed the ride without such support.

"I have since been contacted by people from around the world who wish to help elephant Lasah," said Julia, who is now to write a detailed plan to make sure the money is spent wisely.

She also hopes to visit schools to teach children how best to interact with elephants. "The UK is one of the world’s largest markets for elephant riding so it’s important to get the message out there in a fun and non-distressing way," she told the Gazette. "Just to make sure that elephants like Lasah, that are taken from the wild and broken, become a thing of the past."

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Injured elephant captured in Sabah oil palm plantation dies

Sabah Wildlife Director Augustine Tuuga said the elephant, estimated to be six or seven years of age, had shown signs of injury when it was captured by the Wildlife Department’s Rescue Unit.

He said the elephant was reported to have been aggressive towards plantation workers and villagers in surrounding areas, which led to its capture on Nov 24 at Desa Plantation, and was then taken to Borneo Elephant Sanctuary.

“While undergoing medical examination and treatment, its tongue was found to have serious wound, believed to have been caused by a gunshot.

“The wound on the tongue made the elephant unable to eat or drink,” he said in a statement here tonight.

Tuuga said a post mortem conducted on the elephant found a bullet lodged in the injured front left leg and there were also gunshot marks on the body, but did not penetrate or caused any internal organ injury.

“Dehydration is believed to be the cause of death because the elephant was unable to drink due to the injury on its tongue,” he said.

Tuuga said the Sabah Wildlife Department would be investigating the case as it involved the death of a totally protected species.

“While the Sabah Wildlife Department fully understand the problem faced by the people associated with elephant in their environment, we would really appreciate cooperation from all concerned by contacting the department’s nearest office for assistance to mitigate disturbance and property loss,” he said. — Bernama

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Another Pygmy Elephant dies from Gunshot Wounds in Sabah

Bornean pygmy elephants are facing existential threats in Sabah and so the death of any more wild elephants in the state is bad news. Yet just over the past few months several wild elephants have been shot dead by poachers or irate plantation workers.

Now another wild elephant is dead. The bull elephant, which was around six years old, had been shot and ended up succumbing to his injuries before staff at the Borneo Wildlife Sanctuary in Kinabatangan, where he was taken for treatment, could save him.

“During the examination, a bullet slug was found lodged in its injured front left leg,” explained Augustine Tuuga, director of the Sabah Wildlife Department. “There were also sign of gunshots on the body but they did not penetrate or cause any internal organ injury.”

The pachyderm also suffered an injury to his tongue, likely from a gunshot. “While undergoing medical examination and treatment, its tongue was found to have serious wound, believed to have been caused by a gunshot,” the director said. “The wound on the tongue made the elephant unable to eat or drink.”

The department’s rescue unit captured the elephant on November 24 at a plantation in Ladang Pertama after he had been reported to be acting aggressively towards locals in the area. He was showing signs of an injury on his left front leg. After tracking the wild elephant for some time, officials managed to capture him and took him to the wildlife sanctuary for treatment. But by then it was too late for the animal.

It remains unknown who shot the elephant, but the likelihood is that it was an irate plantation worker. “We will investigate the case further as it involves the death of a totally protected species,” Tuuga said. The elephant’s death is especially egregious as it comes shortly after another bull elephant was found dead with three gunshot wounds at a large plantation in Tawau, where another male elephant was also killed last month, bringing the tally of dead elephants, all shot dead, to three within the space of just a few weeks.

And so it goes: plantations have robbed wild elephants in the area of their natural habitats, severely reducing their roaming grounds. As a result, many of them can’t help but wander onto plantations, where they then encounter locals who look askance at the pachyderms feeding on crops. Some of these locals take matters into their own hands and shot the animals.

“When elephants come into conflict with people it is a battle in which the gentle animals are destined to lose,” observes SM Mohd Idris, president of the conservationist group Sahabat Alam Malaysia. “Those responsible for land clearance are highly aware of the increased risks of elephants coming into conflict with people and the subsequent fatalities that may arise,” he adds. “Many plantation owners and farmers now see elephants as enemies, yet it is humans, not the pachyderms, who are responsible for this situation.”

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200kg Malaysia-bound ivory intercepted at RGM Airport

At least 200 kilogrammes of ivory worth over half a million dollars was intercepted at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Monday, while destined for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZimParks) confirmed the interception yesterday and said it is on high alert. The owner of the ivory, which was boxed, was still not known by yesterday. The interception of the loot followed a joint operation by parks and security agencies at the international airport.

ZimParks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo confirmed the development in an interview with The Herald yesterday. Investigations to track down the criminals behind the attempted smuggling of the ivory were underway. The Herald is reliably informed that the net is fast closing on the suspects.

“The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority officers at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, working with other security agencies, on Monday intercepted 200kg of ivory destined for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,” said Mr Farawo.

“Efforts to get the owner are underway.” Mr Farawo said the case had since been handed over to the Zimbabwe Republic Police. “The matter has been handed over to the ZRP Border Control and Minerals Unit,” he said. “As parks, we are on high alert. We will not allow such illegal activities to happen and this is in line with President Mnangagwa’s policy of zero tolerance on corruption.

“We are excited that we are moving in line with the Head of State and Government. I can assure you, we will get to the bottom of this matter, as the net is closing in on the culprits.” The country has 84 000 elephants, which it considers too many, but is unable to sell ivory due to CITES restrictions. Poaching has seen a good number of elephants being killed through shooting or poisoning using cyanide.

A total of 893 jumbos were poached between 2013 and 2016. Out of this number, 249 elephants were killed through poisoning using cyanide or shooting.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sabah moots ‘killer instinct’ wildlife rangers to fight poachers

An elite team of 50 wildlife rangers equipped with firearms may be the answer to Sabah’s escalating poaching problem.

Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said today that authorities have mooted the idea of a specialised team of rangers who would be trained to look solely into wildlife protection aspects including data and intelligence collection and surveillance, criminal analysing and prosecution.

“They will be armed, and work on shifts. They won’t do anything but 24-hour surveillance. We will give them guns — we have about 95 guns — Glocks, Scorpion and Italian shotguns. It’s not necessarily to shoot people, more for warnings, but if thing get heated, they have to be able to protect themselves,” he said during his speech at the Borneo Banteng international workshop and conference here.

Mannan said the idea is still at the proposal stage, but added that the elite rangers would be under the Wildlife Enforcement Unit if accepted. He also said they are looking for funding.

“We will recruit people who have experience in this field.

“There will be a specially trained unit that have killer instincts. We are dealing with crooks and we have to play dirty too. No mercy-mercy business,” he said, adding that there would still have to work out a standard operating procedure for firing shots.

Danau Girang Field Centre director Benoit Goossens who was also present said such action was needed in light of the escalating threat againsts Sabah’s declining wildlife.

“We have to take such action because it is getting serious. There are people hawking exotic meat at five-star resorts, things like pangolin scales.

“This year alone we have had seven cases of poached elephants. In West Malaysia, the animals are being poached for their hide. It’s not here yet but we have to be ready and show them we mean business,” he said.

Goossens said that there was willingness by the state authorities to carry out this proposal and hoped that the idea would be able to increase the likelihood of catching poachers and bringing them to justice.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Yet another endangered Borneo pygmy jumbo found dead in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Another critically endangered Borneo pygmy elephant has been found dead even as conservationists call for informants and professional investigators to be engaged to stop the killing.

The elephant, the ninth slain in the last 14 months, was a healthy 12-year-old bull named Liningkung, that was fitted with a satellite collar 18 months ago.

It was found in the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve on Sabah’s east coast on Tuesday.

Rangers discovered its decomposed carcass with the tusks untouched.


Liningkung’s movements were being monitored by DGFC on a weekly basis, Goossens said, and they alerted Sabah Forestry officials on Dec 11 to say that it had not moved since Dec 3.

A team is in the area to carry out a post-mortem.

“It is another sad day for elephant conservation. If this goes on, we might be staring at its extinction,” Goossens said.

There are only about 1,500 elephants left in Sabah’s forests.

This is the third elephant found dead in the same area in the past year.

Goossens said it is vital for a special wildlife enforcement unit to be set up to go after wildlife poachers and traders as suggested by chief conservator of forests Datuk Sam Mannan.

Meanwhile, Marc Acrenaz, scientific director for Sabah-based wildlife research and conservation NGO Hutan, said informers and professional investigators are needed to stop the killing.

“Many years ago, locals killed these animals for food and it was not too serious.

“Now, we see that things have changed and people are poaching for the international trade or killing them because of animal-human conflicts,” he said.

No suspects have been identified in many of these cases, including a recent incident where a bull elephant was shot in the mouth and died of dehydration because it could not eat or drink.

“The authorities lack people on the ground,” Acrenaz said.

“We need a strong team which can identify the culprits and bring them to justice,” he said, adding that the killings might stop then.

For now, Acrenaz said, there are not enough rangers to cover all the places where animals – especially endangered species like the pygmy elephants, orang utan and pangolins – roam.

He said the three main reasons for poaching and killing were conflicts between landowners and animals (especially elephants), poaching of bush meat because of demand by tourists, and the international underground trade in exotic meat and animal parts like ivory and pangolin scales.


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ZimParks intercepts 200kg of Malaysia-bound ivory

THE Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) on Monday intercepted a consignment of 200 kilogrammes of ivory worth over $1 million destined for Malaysia at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport amid reports that the contraband belonged to a top Zanu PF politician.

ZimParks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo confirmed the development yesterday, saying the alleged loot was recovered with the help of other State security agencies.

“We recovered 200kg of ivory valued at more than $500 000 on the official market,” he said.

“The net is closing in on the owners because we have identified the travel agency that was facilitating the transportation of the consignment.”

According to sources at the airport, the consignment comprised of four boxes with carved ivory.

This was the first time efforts to smuggle ivory of such huge volume had been made. Previous attempts to nab the ivory smugglers had hit a brickwall after it was discovered the syndicates were linked to top officials.

In the latest incident, there was speculation that the consignment belonged to top officials.

Farawo said ZimParks would not hesitate to exercise its mandate following a directive by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to stamp out corrupt activities. Trade in ivory has been outlawed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to prevent extinction of elephants and rhinos. This has resulted in ivory finding its way to the informal market, particularly to Asian countries, where it is commonly used as an aphrodisiac.

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sabah moots ‘killer instinct’ wildlife rangers to fight poachers

An elite team of 50 wildlife rangers equipped with firearms may be the answer to Sabah’s escalating poaching problem.

Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said today that authorities have mooted the idea of a specialised team of rangers who would be trained to look solely into wildlife protection aspects including data and intelligence collection and surveillance, criminal analysing and prosecution.

“They will be armed, and work on shifts. They won’t do anything but 24-hour surveillance. We will give them guns — we have about 95 guns — Glocks, Scorpion and Italian shotguns. It’s not necessarily to shoot people, more for warnings, but if thing get heated, they have to be able to protect themselves,” he said during his speech at the Borneo Banteng international workshop and conference here.

Mannan said the idea is still at the proposal stage, but added that the elite rangers would be under the Wildlife Enforcement Unit if accepted. He also said they are looking for funding.

“We will recruit people who have experience in this field.

“There will be a specially trained unit that have killer instincts. We are dealing with crooks and we have to play dirty too. No mercy-mercy business,” he said, adding that there would still have to work out a standard operating procedure for firing shots.

Danau Girang Field Centre director Benoit Goossens who was also present said such action was needed in light of the escalating threat againsts Sabah’s declining wildlife.

“We have to take such action because it is getting serious. There are people hawking exotic meat at five-star resorts, things like pangolin scales.

“This year alone we have had seven cases of poached elephants. In West Malaysia, the animals are being poached for their hide. It’s not here yet but we have to be ready and show them we mean business,” he said.

Goossens said that there was willingness by the state authorities to carry out this proposal and hoped that the idea would be able to increase the likelihood of catching poachers and bringing them to justice.

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Kuala Lumpur Airport hosts roadshow to raise awareness of wildlife trafficking by air

This message was delivered through the Anti Human & Wildlife Trafficking Roadshow, organized by Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) which includes the country’s flagship airline Malaysia Airlines Berhad. The roadshow was held with the support of Malaysia Airports Berhad, which manages KLIA. TRAFFIC was among exhibitors at the three-day event.

The roadshow was marked by the Group’s announcement that it had taken on a zero-tolerance policy against wildlife trafficking and would continue to reinforce its role by helping to shut down illegal wildlife trafficking by air.

Passengers pose by Manis, TRAFFIC's pangolin mascot, at the roadshow after learning about how to remain vigilant for suspected wildlife trafficking.

The airline, a signatory to the Buckingham Declaration, has so far engaged 4000 staff on wildlife trafficking issues. It also engages passengers and travellers on the topic through anti-wildlife trafficking messages on all countertop check-in posters and awareness videos on their in-flight entertainment systems.

Next month, the airline will host TRAFFIC for a half-day training event for all airport stakeholders under the USAID-Funded Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership.

The event was launched by Malaysia’s Deputy Home Affairs Minister Dato Masir Kujat and in attendance was United States Ambassador to Malaysia, Her Excellency Madam Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir who spoke in support of the cause.

During the event, TRAFFIC staff and volunteers engaged with travellers through exhibits which focused on encouraging travellers to holiday responsibly by not purchasing souvenirs made of wildlife parts, avoiding the consumption of exotic meat as well as reporting any suspected illegal wildlife activity. Awareness videos by TRAFFIC were also displayed on TV screens at the airport during the period.

This is TRAFFIC’s third exhibition on wildlife trade issues with Malaysia Airlines Berhad. It has also periodically participated in the Airline’s programme to engage its staff on the role of transport and logistics providers in fighting wildlife crime.

The Kuala Lumpur International Airport has come under the spotlight in recent years for its role as a transit hub in the smuggling of wildlife parts from Africa to Asia. Over the past year, Customs officials at the airport have seized significant amounts of African ivory, rhino horns, pangolin scales and freshwater tortoises, largely from cargo.

In August, the Royal Malaysian Customs made their eighth seizure of African pangolin scales and elephant ivory at the KLIA, bringing their total haul for the year to a staggering 1.7 tonnes of pangolin scales and 958 kg of ivory.

“Wildlife traffickers are exploiting the increasingly fast and efficient transport networks around the world, including in Malaysia, and airlines and airports need to put in place or improve systems and protocols that will stop such abuse and help disrupt criminal networks,” said Kanitha Krishnasamy, Acting Regional Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.

“It’s great to see interest from the airports and the airlines in Malaysia. We hope to see them maintain the momentum not just to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade, but also effect changes in their systems that will support enforcement efforts against wildlife traffickers.”

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Another Pygmy Elephant is Shot Dead

The wild pygmy elephant was found dead near a small river at an oil palm plantation in Tawau. The pachyderm’s remains were riddled with three bullets. It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out what happened: the bull elephant had been killed either by plantation workers or local farmers in revenge for wading into crops or by poachers.

“The tusks are still there and we found gunshot wounds,” Augustine Tuuga, director of Sabah’s Wildlife Department, explained. “I believe it was done by poachers.”

This pygmy elephant is the seventh pachyderm that is known to have been killed in the past year, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. In the past four months alone four pygmy elephants have been gunned down in Sabah. In August plantation workers discovered a female pygmy elephant suffering from several gunshot wounds at an oil palm plantation by the Malua Forest Reserve in Kinabatangan. She died of her injuries.

In early September, meanwhile, the remains of an elephant were found, without its tusks, at a plantation near Dumpas in Kalabakan. Soon thereafter, another pachyderm was discovered floating in the Kinabatangan river. It, too, had had its tusk sawn off by poachers.

The killings have alarmed conservationists and local wildlife officials. Pygmy elephants are increasingly beleaguered in Sabah. They are at risk of being killed by irate plantation workers for wading into crops; they are at risk of being poached for their ivory; and they are also at risk of being run over while crossing roads dissecting forests. Having lost much of their ancestral forests to oil palm cultivation and logging, these placid giants are now facing hardships and dangers across their range in Sabah.

“These animals belong to us all and are beneficial to us economically,” Masidi Manjun, Sabah’s minister of Culture, Tourism and Environment, has stressed, calling on locals to protect the state’s wild elephants.

Here’s hoping locals will heed such calls and set about saving the state’s pygmy elephants from any further harm.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wild Elephants ‘can Inflict Harm on Plantations.’ So What to Do?

Millions of ringgit in losses over an area of 30 hectares. That’s how much damage a herd of feeding elephants can inflict on a plantation, according to the Sabah Wildlife Department. In just a single night elephants can destroy six hectares of crops, the department’s head Augustine Tuuga explained.

“Elephant raids are a major problem for plantations in areas where elephants are found,” the director was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today. “These herds damage oil palm trees and eat the shoots, causing the companies to incur big losses.” He cited the case of Sabah Softwood Bhd, which lost property estimated to be worth RM3 million to elephants.

None of this is in any doubt. Even a single elephant, which fully grown can weigh 3 tons and consume as much as 200kg of food in a single day, can decimate crops by feeding on much of them, uprooting trees and trampling on a lot of cultivated plants. Several elephants can in turn create havoc. To make matters worse, elephants’ dietary preferences expose them to increased risks of coming into conflict with humans because they may fancy a bite or two of certain cultivated crops.

Yet we have to remember that elephants do not do this out of malice. They simply need to feed. And the only reason why they often barge into cultivated areas like plantations is that they have lost much of their natural feeding grounds in the wild. “The rapid shrinkage of forest cover and large-scale encroachment on elephant corridors are the main factors behind this escalating problem,” explains Mohamed Idris, president of the conservationist group Sahabat Alam Malaysia. “The last decade has seen appalling destruction of forests, something that is having direct effects on wild elephant populations.”

Farmers destroy the pachyderms’ habitats, and then they are angered when elephants show up in their plantations and chew up crops. Sadly, some farmers do not leave it at that and seek to take revenge by shooting or poisoning wild elephants. Such revenge attacks have been going on sporadically for years, in addition to the poaching of wild elephants for their tusks and other body parts. Just a few week ago two pygmy elephants were found dead in Sabah. Their remains were discovered a few days apart in Tawau and Sandakan. The tusks of one had been sawn off.

Sad, that. We need to be more tolerant of wild animals. If they cause harm, our response should not be to lash out in revenge but rather to cultivate forbearance. We need to adopt a live-and-let-live attitude. To foster such attitudes, the government can do its part by compensating farmers for their losses. That way, they will be far less inclined to seek revenge against foraging elephants.

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Monday, November 06, 2017

SNP inhabitant elephants damage two houses in Kanchanpur

A herd of wild elephants has damaged two houses in Beldandi Rural Municipality-1 of Kanchanpur district on Thursday night.

The wild elephants inhabiting the Shuklaphanta National Park entered the settlement and damaged houses belonging to Gagan Singh Mahar and Man Bahadur Okheda. Moreover, the pachyderms ate all food grains stored in the houses.

Subsequently, the owners of the damaged houses are compelled to take shelter at neighbour’s home.

Meanwhile, the neighbours have taken the initiative to collect food grains and financial support as the financial condition of both families is very poor.

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Malaysia embraces Melanie's work on the illegal wildlife trade

RESEARCH into how the law can be used to protect endangered species has led to a University of Huddersfield lecturer's expertise being harnessed by an overseas nation that has some of the world's most diverse and fascinating wildlife.

Melanie Flynn, who specialises in "green criminology", was commissioned to carry out research for the UK arm of the World Wildlife Fund, leading to a report on sentencing for illegal wildlife trade in England and Wales.

This led to her being put in touch with the WWF in Malaysia, a super-diverse country that is home to species that include tigers, elephants, the Sumatran rhinoceros and the orang-utan.

"The WWF were setting up a meeting with the judiciary in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, where they have environmental courts to deal with wildlife crimes," said Mrs Flynn. "They flew me out as an expert adviser. I gave presentations and we ran some workshops. We got a commitment that the Malaysian judiciary would set up a committee to introduce sentencing guidelines for wildlife offences."

Progress has been slower in the UK, a country that is highly significant as a destination and a transit country for wildlife trafficking - claimed to be the world's fourth largest transnational illegal crime.
On behalf of the WWF, Mrs Flynn - who has degrees in both the law and criminology - produced a report on sentencing policy for wildlife trade offences in England and Wales. It was the result of a process that included an experts' workshop and interviews with CPS prosecutors.

The research examined 174 cases of illegal wildlife trade that resulted in convictions in courts of England and Wales and found that most cases resulted in non-custodial sentences and that fines were low - most of them being less than the value placed on the wildlife products that had been traded.
"Overall, sentencing was considered to be somewhat inconsistent as well as lenient when the high profits and significant harms of offending were taken into account. It was also found that there was little knowledge or experience of illegal wildlife trade or its impacts amongst criminal justice organisations... this was particularly the case for the magistracy and judiciary," states Melanie Flynn's report.

It was also found that wildlife crime was not always viewed as seriously as it ought to be and that there were limited resources available for tackling it. Mrs Flynn and the WWF therefore called on the Sentencing Council - which promotes greater consistency in sentencing - to draft guidelines. However, it remains resistant to the idea.

Although frustrated by this, Mrs Flynn continues to work with the WWF on wildlife crime, with her Malaysian connection being one result. Also, she was invited to contribute to the journal of the Magistrates' Association, and this has been important in raising awareness of the issues, she says.
In addition to her research on sentencing, Melanie Flynn - who has worked as a crime analyst and who has been a research fellow at the UCL Jill Dando Institute Crime Science Lab - is also working on preventative measures in the field of wildlife crime.

"My background is in situational crime prevention, which is about opportunity reduction on the ground. It is about altering the environment to reduce opportunities to offend, but it is also about removing the frustrations that individuals hold," said Mrs Flynn, who includes green criminology in one of the modules she teaches at the University of Huddersfield.

"Some of the killings of endangered species are in retaliation because crops have been trampled or livestock might have been attacked. Measures such as compensation schemes can remove the incentive to retaliate. But we also need to provide more legitimate opportunities for people involved in poaching. We are talking predominantly about countries where there is a lot of poverty and not a lot of opportunity."

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Sunday, November 05, 2017

Villagers In Kedah Shook By Wild Elephants, How Can We Co-Exist With These Gentle Giants?

BALING: Over 900 villagers residing at Kampung Tanjung Pari, Mukim Siong endured a moment of anxiety yesterday (Oct 24), when a herd of elephants were found roaming in the village and subsequently destroying their crops.

The Tanjung Pari Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) Chairman Taib Man shared with Berita Harian that the villagers refrained from going to the farm as they fear of crossing paths with the wild elephants that are often wondering through the night.

He went on to elaborate that the gentle giants are gradually becoming more daring as they have been incidences where they roam to close to the villagers’ home and destroying their crops such as bananas, rubber trees, jackfruits, sugarcane and coconut.

“Most of the population earn their livelihood as farmers and their fear for wild elephants have cut them off from their source of sustenance,” the chairman lamented.

“We’ve informed the incident to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN) in hopes that they will chase the elephants away aside from installing electric fence at elephant routes.”

Meanwhile a 53-year-old resident, Asri Yaacob, said that the elephants move in a huge herd to invade and destroy the villagers’ crops.

“Residents suffer losses, to a point some have forego farming out of fear for the worst,” he conveyed to the Malay daily.

The Kedah PERHILITAN Director Inche Ali @ Muhammad Ali Che Aman stated that his department will take immediate action in the event they receive a report as a means to ensure the public’s safety.

“The elephants will be chased away as a means to avoid any more property loses as well as to put an end to anything that threatens the villagers’ safety,” he said.

To read the full article, click on the story title



Friday, October 27, 2017

Malaysia: Two more pygmy elephants found dead without tusks

KOTA KINABALU: Another two Borneo pygmy elephants were found dead without their tusks in eastern Sabah.

One of the carcasses of the elephants was located in a plantation near the Dumpas area on Sept 10 while the other was found floating along the Kinabatangan river close to the Danau Girang Field Research Centre a few days ago.

Sources said it was difficult to pinpoint the area where the second bull was killed before the carcass was dumped into the river.

Sabah has been faced with the threat of wildlife poaching, especially of its endangered elephants which numbers around 2,000 in forests in eastern Sabah.

Six pygmy elephants, including the unique sabre tusk jumbo, have been reported killed over the last six months.

The Sabah Wildlife Department said they have no new leads or suspects in both the new cases.

Nevertheless, investigations are ongoing to identify the perpetrators.

The department's director, Augustine Tuuga, said the death of the elephant in Dumpas revealed no external injuries.

He said that they have taken blood samples to establish the cause of death while the second elephant might be a victim of poaching.

Wildlife officials were also probing the case of a green turtle found butchered on the shores of Pulau Bum Bum in Semporna which was highlighted in a Facebook posting on Wednesday.

At least nine dead turtles were seen in the photo uploaded on Facebook.

Tuuga said they were verifying the reports and carrying an investigation into the deaths.

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Plantations in Sabah losing millions because of elephants

KOTA KINABALU: Oil palm plantations are losing millions from damaged crops, sometimes spanning 30 hectares in total, when elephant herds raid the area, says the Sabah Wildlife Department.
Its director Augustine Tuuga told FMT that smallholders were hit the hardest as they could sometimes lose up to six hectares of crops in just one night.

“Elephant raids are a major problem for plantations in areas where elephants are found.
“These herds damage oil palm trees and eat the shoots, causing the companies to incur big losses,” he said, adding that Sabah Softwood Bhd for example, reported a loss of RM3 million a few years back.

He said that the problem of elephant raids had become so dire that most of the department’s ground staff were in Kg Gambaron in Telupid to deal with the issue, bringing to a virtual standstill, investigations into the recent case of suspected poaching in Kinabatangan.
The department estimated that there were only 2,000 Borneo pygmy elephants left in Sabah and although the number was considered acceptable to many, Tuuga said he was cautious about their survival rates if poaching continued unabated.

He conceded that most of the elephant poachers were locals, who killed the endangered animals mainly for their tusks.

“We found that these tusks were sold overseas but many also sold them to the Timorese who have a custom of offering elephant tusks as dowries.”

On Thursday, the department released a statement that it was investigating suspected poaching activities after an elephant carcass was found floating in the Kinabatangan River near Sg Koyah on Monday.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Brigitte Bardot urges Malaysian government to rescue elephant in captivity in Langkawi

KUALA LUMPUR: Screen legend Brigitte Bardot has urged the government to let a wild-born Malaysian elephant kept in captivity in Langkawi to retire in the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.

The former singer and actress expressed her concerns about the elephant, named Lasah, in a letter to Natural Resources and Environmental Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, dated Oct 11.

Bardot, a renown animal activist, said she was aware that Lasah lived alone and chained for several hours a day. She added that the elephant was used and abused for tourism purposes on the island.

She said, according a Malaysian NGO, media reports and several petitions, Lasah had been used in tourism and entertainment for more than 25 years, worked in a logging camp and spent many years in zoos in and outside the country.

"As you and your Ministry are aware, the only way elephants accept being ridden by tourists is by being crushed and frequently abused.

"Thanks to the advent of the internet and different social medias, this fact is now a common knowledge.

"It is also widely known that elephants must not be kept alone in captivity, males included. Depriving Lasah of the companionship of other elephants is cruel and has severe psychological impact on him, not to mention the repetitive elephant rides and the chains," she said in the letter.

Bardot added that the abuses and exploitation of Lasah has prevented him from expressing his natural behaviors, such as foraging and interacting with other elephants thus why retiring him to the sanctuary would offer him the opportunity to do so.

"To this day, the Malaysian government has spent tens of millions of Ringgit on pandas coming from China, and I can only hope that such a financial effort translates a certain concern about wildlife.

"Therefore I believe that the Malaysian government will have no problem with welcoming and caring for Lasah, who is a Malaysian-born elephant, at the sanctuary.

"It is a moral and ethical obligation to give Lasah the freedom he needs and deserves after so many years of suffering.

"I respectfully ask the Malaysian government to retire Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary where he can live as a free elephant without fear of abuse and exploitation.

"This is what Lasah deserves and the gesture of compassion everyone expects from the Malaysian government," she said.

In July last year, Langkawi Elephant Adventure had dismissed allegations that it had abused Lasah.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Malaysia: Two more pygmy elephants found dead without tusks

KOTA KINABALU: Another two Borneo pygmy elephants were found dead without their tusks in eastern Sabah.

One of the carcasses of the elephants was located in a plantation near the Dumpas area on Sept 10 while the other was found floating along the Kinabatangan river close to the Danau Girang Field Research Centre a few days ago.

Sources said it was difficult to pinpoint the area where the second bull was killed before the carcass was dumped into the river.

Sabah has been faced with the threat of wildlife poaching, especially of its endangered elephants which numbers around 2,000 in forests in eastern Sabah.

Six pygmy elephants, including the unique sabre tusk jumbo, have been reported killed over the last six months.

The Sabah Wildlife Department said they have no new leads or suspects in both the new cases.

Nevertheless, investigations are ongoing to identify the perpetrators.

The department's director, Augustine Tuuga, said the death of the elephant in Dumpas revealed no external injuries.

He said that they have taken blood samples to establish the cause of death while the second elephant might be a victim of poaching.

Wildlife officials were also probing the case of a green turtle found butchered on the shores of Pulau Bum Bum in Semporna which was highlighted in a Facebook posting on Wednesday.

At least nine dead turtles were seen in the photo uploaded on Facebook.

Tuuga said they were verifying the reports and carrying an investigation into the deaths.

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Plantations in Sabah losing millions because of elephants

KOTA KINABALU: Oil palm plantations are losing millions from damaged crops, sometimes spanning 30 hectares in total, when elephant herds raid the area, says the Sabah Wildlife Department.
Its director Augustine Tuuga told FMT that smallholders were hit the hardest as they could sometimes lose up to six hectares of crops in just one night.

“Elephant raids are a major problem for plantations in areas where elephants are found.

“These herds damage oil palm trees and eat the shoots, causing the companies to incur big losses,” he said, adding that Sabah Softwood Bhd for example, reported a loss of RM3 million a few years back.

He said that the problem of elephant raids had become so dire that most of the department’s ground staff were in Kg Gambaron in Telupid to deal with the issue, bringing to a virtual standstill, investigations into the recent case of suspected poaching in Kinabatangan.

The department estimated that there were only 2,000 Borneo pygmy elephants left in Sabah and although the number was considered acceptable to many, Tuuga said he was cautious about their survival rates if poaching continued unabated.

He conceded that most of the elephant poachers were locals, who killed the endangered animals mainly for their tusks.

“We found that these tusks were sold overseas but many also sold them to the Timorese who have a custom of offering elephant tusks as dowries.”

On Thursday, the department released a statement that it was investigating suspected poaching activities after an elephant carcass was found floating in the Kinabatangan River near Sg Koyah on Monday.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Brigitte Bardot urges Malaysian government to rescue elephant in captivity in Langkawi

KUALA LUMPUR: Screen legend Brigitte Bardot has urged the government to let a wild-born Malaysian elephant kept in captivity in Langkawi to retire in the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.

The former singer and actress expressed her concerns about the elephant, named Lasah, in a letter to Natural Resources and Environmental Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, dated Oct 11.

Bardot, a renown animal activist, said she was aware that Lasah lived alone and chained for several hours a day. She added that the elephant was used and abused for tourism purposes on the island.

She said, according a Malaysian NGO, media reports and several petitions, Lasah had been used in tourism and entertainment for more than 25 years, worked in a logging camp and spent many years in zoos in and outside the country.

"As you and your Ministry are aware, the only way elephants accept being ridden by tourists is by being crushed and frequently abused.

"Thanks to the advent of the internet and different social medias, this fact is now a common knowledge.

"It is also widely known that elephants must not be kept alone in captivity, males included. Depriving Lasah of the companionship of other elephants is cruel and has severe psychological impact on him, not to mention the repetitive elephant rides and the chains," she said in the letter.

Bardot added that the abuses and exploitation of Lasah has prevented him from expressing his natural behaviors, such as foraging and interacting with other elephants thus why retiring him to the sanctuary would offer him the opportunity to do so.

"To this day, the Malaysian government has spent tens of millions of Ringgit on pandas coming from China, and I can only hope that such a financial effort translates a certain concern about wildlife.

"Therefore I believe that the Malaysian government will have no problem with welcoming and caring for Lasah, who is a Malaysian-born elephant, at the sanctuary.

"It is a moral and ethical obligation to give Lasah the freedom he needs and deserves after so many years of suffering.

"I respectfully ask the Malaysian government to retire Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary where he can live as a free elephant without fear of abuse and exploitation.

"This is what Lasah deserves and the gesture of compassion everyone expects from the Malaysian government," she said.

In July last year, Langkawi Elephant Adventure had dismissed allegations that it had abused Lasah.

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:https://www.msn.com/en-my/news/other/brigitte-bardot-urges-malaysian-government-to-rescue-elephant-in-captivity-in-langkawi/ar-AAtjUU3

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Bong Su is dead, broken by cramped and impoverished zoo conditions

Bong Su, Melbourne Zoo's beloved bull elephant, is dead. His death is a tragedy: zoo veterinarians euthanised him after an assessment that the pain he felt from "arthritis" could not be relieved. While this may be the case, Bong Su's pain was not natural. It was due to the conditions in which he was kept for many years at Melbourne Zoo. In reality, Bong Su should have been in his prime.

Captured from the wild in Malaysia, Bong Su and a female elephant, Mek Kapah, were shipped to Melbourne in 1977-78. They were young calves, no more than five years old.

For many years, Bong Su and Mek Kapah lived alone in what the zoo now calls its "heritage elephant exhibit", an old-fashioned, moated enclosure. During their time in the exhibit, both elephants developed severe behavioural problems involving repetitive "stereotypic" actions that are now understood to help relieve chronic stress. Mek Kapah swayed in one spot for years, actually wearing away the concrete under her front feet. Bong Su walked in small circles for hours at a time, putting particular strain on his front feet; video evidence showed Bong Su walked up to 15 kilometres a night in a tight circle, in his own waste, inside his barn. The constant torsion on his front feet resulted in chronic infections.

Confined in separate small barn-stalls for 16 hours out of 24 for many years, both elephants led impoverished lives. In the late 1990s, new expertise was brought in and a radical new approach was taken to relieve the stereotypic behaviour. The elephants were no longer confined on concrete floors at night. A weight-loss program was introduced for Mek Kapah. Exercise and training regimes were implemented for both elephants with the aim of stimulating and engaging them and building their confidence. In 2003 the elephants were moved to more spacious facilities. They evidently were invigorated by their new surroundings. Still, the situation was far from ideal.

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Malaysia: Sabah Officials Seek Tougher Laws Against Wildlife Poachers

Authorities in Malaysia’s Sabah state said Friday they would press for tougher wildlife laws to battle armed poachers after photos of carcasses of green turtles and Bornean Pygmy elephants were posted online and caught the attention of conservationists.

Sabah, on Borneo island, borders the Malaysian state of Sarawak and Indonesia’s Kalimantan province. It is also home to many endemic wildlife species, such as orangutan and rhinoceros.

Last month, villagers said they discovered the skeletal remains of about 100 green turtles scattered on the beaches on Bum-Bum Island near Semporna, a small town in Sabah. Residents also found two decomposed adult Bornean Pygmy elephants in different locations.

Masidi Manjun, Sabah’s environment and tourism minister, said his department was considering amending the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, a regional law that aims to protect endangered species in Sabah by imposing severe penalties on poachers.

The amendment would give wildlife laws more bite by changing the way cases play out in court and placing the burden of proof on the accused to present evidence proving one’s innocence.

“With the amendment, it means the accused will have to prove he didn’t kill it [the endangered wildlife animal] because at this point of time, the prosecutors have to come up with evidence to prove a person is guilty and this is not easy,” Masidi told reporters.

Sabah’s Forestry Department said poaching in the state had reached “pandemic proportions” and armed poachers encountered at checkpoints were often masked “and willing and able to inflict harm” on forestry guards.

“Although Forestry Department staff are armed, this is purely for self-protection and they are reluctant to use their licensed firearms against the poachers,” the department said in a statement posted on the homepage of its website. “Besides that, it is to avoid a firefight with the poachers which may result in an ugly scene.”

“The seriousness of this menace needs a concerted effort in unison, starting with the prosecution of the known and big-time perpetrators,” the statement said.

Authorities have arrested and detained at least three people on suspicion of involvement in the multiple slaughter of protected turtles. Officials said poachers would often remove the turtle meat, eggs and soft under shell before leaving the bones and hard-top shell.

Two Indonesian men have also been detained to assist authorities in the killings of the two elephants, officials said.

To read the full article, click on the story title


Friday, October 13, 2017

Killing of wildlife goes on in Sabah

The slaughter of Sabah’s wildlife continued this month with little signs of slowing down as two critically-endangered Bornean pygmy elephants were killed for tusks and at least nine endangered green turtles were found butchered on the east coast.

The killings sent fresh shockwaves through the conservationist community, which appealed to the public to help put a stop to this.

A dead bull elephant was found floating down the Kinabatangan river close to the Danau Girang Research Centre (DGRC) on Monday, while another was found dead at a plantation in the Dumpas area of Kalabakan on Sept 10.

“This cannot go unpunished. We need to bring these criminals to court,” conservationist Dr Benoit Goossens said.


Dr Goossens, the director of the Kinabatangan-based DGRC, said that with fewer than 2,000 elephants in Sabah, the population would be in jeopardy if the killing of mature bulls goes on.

“Elephants are already threatened by habitat loss and conflict with humans. If you add poaching, the species will not survive. We must get rid of the poachers and traders,” he said.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said the tusks may be bound for Indonesia, where they are used as dowry in some communities.

On the turtles found on Pulau Bum Bum in Semporna district, he said reports indicated that all nine were stripped of their flesh and the lower shell, called the plastron.

He said the turtle killings may have been committed by members of the same group detained by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) early this year.

Augustine said the MMEA detained a boat from southern Philippines, with four men on board, bound for Semporna loaded with turtle flesh and plastron. The department prosecuted the four men and they were jailed two years and fined RM100,000 each.

Augustine said the wildlife authorities needed the help of villagers and other agencies in protecting endangered animals.

“The killings have to stop but we cannot do it alone,” he said.

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