Saturday, August 19, 2017

Another Vietnamese Ivory Smuggler is Nabbed at KLIA

And on and on it goes. The smuggling of ivory into and out of Malaysia, that is.

Exasperating? You bet.

Encouragingly, however, Malaysian officials tend to be on the ball and keep making arrest. The latest such arrest has involved that of a Vietnamese national who was trying to take 36kg of partially processed elephant tusks out of the country via Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The tusks, which had been cut up, tied up into 10 packages and packed into two suitcases, would have been worth around RM300,000 (US$70,000) on the black market.

The Vietnamese smuggler had brought the African elephant tusks from Addis Ababa, using Malaysia as a stopover. If convicted of trafficking, he is facing up to three years in jail and a hefty fine under Section 135 (1) (a) of the Customs Act 1967 for illegal importing prohibited goods into the country.

A Malaysian Customs officer displays the ivory contents of one of the two suitcases seized from a Vietnamese trafficker at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

This latest case serves as yet another reminder that Malaysia continues to remain a hub for international ivory traffickers, several of whom are Vietnamese. In March last year Malaysian customs officials intercepted two Vietnamese men who were found to have 101kg of ivory inside their luggage. The same day officials discovered another haul of elephant tusks, amounting to 58 kilograms, in the bag of another Vietnamese passenger who had just flown in from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and was on his way to Hanoi.

But it’s a two-way street. Just as illicit shipments of ivory are brought into Malaysia, so other shipments are taken elsewhere from here. Only a couple of weeks ago customs officials in Hong Kong discovered 7,200kg of elephant tusks shipped in from Africa via Malaysia. Valued at around US$9 million, it was the largest haul of contraband ivory seized in Hong Kong in three decades.

“A string of recent seizures in Malaysia has put a spotlight on wildlife trafficking between Africa and Asia,” explains the anti-wildlife trafficking watchdog TRAFFIC. “[It] shows that illegal traders continue to use Malaysia when smuggling wildlife products into and through Asia,” said the group’s Acting Regional Director for Southeast Asia, Kanitha Krishnasamy. “It is important that African, Malaysian and Vietnamese authorities to work together to break the links in this cross-continental illegal wildlife trade.”

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Elephants a common sight in Dumpas Plantation

A herd of wild elephants is a common sight at the Dumpas oil palm plantation near the Kalabakan-Tawau road here. The plantation’s manager Mohd Rahmat said the elephants were seen roaming the area of the workers’ quarters at about 2pm yesterday, believed to be looking for food.

He said to avoid undesirable incidents, the Dumpas elephant monitoring team and Wildlife Department personnel had chased the elephants away from the plantation area to the nearby forest.

“The elephant herd has been spotted many times in the plantation area and we will closely monitor them by doing regular patrols,” he said when contacted by Bernama here today.

As of yesterday, he said no incidents had been reported due to the problem, which went viral on social media.

The elephants have also been spotted in areas like Brumas, Cenderamata, Benta Wawasan, Kalabakan and Felda Umas, he said.

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(The Star) RM15mil sanctuary for elephants soon

Work on the first phase of the RM15mil Johor Elephant Sanctuary is underway and will provide a safe home for about 15 elephants.

Johor Health, Environment, Information and Education Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said a contractor was appointed in May to start work on the 100ha project.

“The first phase will see about 15 elephants being housed in the sanctuary located along Jalan Lombong, not far from the Kota Tinggi waterfall, where the wild animals can roam freely,” he said.

He said the first phase was scheduled for completion at the end of next year and with that, help improve the conflict between wild elephants and humans in Kluang and Kota Tinggi.

He added that the sanctuary would also doubled as a tourism attraction for nature lovers to get close to the elephants.

“Johor’s vast forests are habitats to about 140 wild elephants where Segamat, Kluang, Mersing and Kota Tinggi are their stomping grounds,” he said.

The rapid developments and deforestation leading to the shrinking of the wild animals’ natural habitat have caused the animals to enter villages in search of food, creating conflicts with humans.

Ayub said the state received 75 complaints from residents and villagers of wild elephants encroaching into their farms and villages from January to May this year.

The highest complaints came from Kluang and Kota Tinggi with Kampung Sri Lukut and Mawai respectively being the most affected villages, he said.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) received an average 181 complaints from villagers and the agricultural industry each year from 2011 to 2016 with damages amounting to about RM1.2mil annually.

Ayub said since 2008 to May this year, Perhilitan transferred 48 wild elephants out of Kluang alone and each transfer process cost about RM50,000.

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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Malaysia: Electric fence to keep elephants away in the works

An electric fence will be built in Gua Musang to reduce the risk of conflict with elephants as their habitat continues to shrink because of deforestation activities.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he was seeking RM200,000 from the Finance Ministry for the fence.

“Building it is one of the mitigation measures to reduce conflict in areas populated by humans, while at the same time conserving the wild elephant population in its original habitat.

“Electric fencing is a long-term solution to the problem of wild elephants raiding human settlements for food,” Dr Wan Junaidi said in a statement after a recent incident at SK Seri Permai in Pos Pasik, Gua Musang.

Several wild elephants damaged fencing, doors and windows when they fed on bananas from the plants behind the teachers’ quarters.

Fortunately, the incident occurred on June 30, when the teachers and students were away during the Hari Raya break.

The school authorities reported the incident to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) on July 2.

The elephants also left behind piles of dung.

“The elephant incident in Gua Musang was the first in five years,” Dr Wan Junaidi said.

“Based on Perhilitan’s findings, the damage was caused by three elephants from the Bertam elephant herd.”

It is learnt that this herd is made up of about 20 elephants.

The damage caused was estimated at RM7,000.

“I have directed the ministry, through Perhilitan, to implement short and long-term mitigation plans to address conflict involving elephants,” Dr Wan Junaidi said, adding that short-term measures include shooting to scare away the elephants.

He also appealed to members of the public not to take matters into their own hands during conflict situations with wild animals.

“I appeal to all the stakeholders to give full co-operation to ensure sustainable management of the wild elephant population in the country,” he said.

Pos Pasik village chief Hashim Harun said the elephants raided the banana plantation at 4am and destroyed about 100 plants.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Elephant Spotted Wandering Near Houses In Johor Village Stirs Fears Among Villagers

Residents of Kampung Lukut in the Kota Tinggi district of Johor are scared of a wild elephant that has taken to wandering near their houses since earlier this month.

So far, there have been six encounters between the animal and the villagers which usually happened at night, between 9.00 p.m. to 12.00 a.m.

One resident, Azman Husin, 38, said the elephant came near to his house on Sunday night, but fortunately no property was damaged. His neighbor managed to record footage of the animal using his phone.

“The residents have lodged their complaints to the authorities for further actions,” he said to Bernama.

His friend, Roslan Dahalan, 52, said he hoped that authorities would take the matter seriously even though no property has been damaged yet.

“We are worried that the tragic incident of an elephant causing a villager's death in Ladang Tunjuk Laut previously would happen here as well.

“Help us and please return them to their original habitat,” said Roslan. He was referring to an incident in 27 June, when a 33-year old Indonesian, Sofian Adi, was found dead at Ladang Tunjuk Laut, Tanjung Sedili, who is believed to be trampled by a wild elephant.

According to acting village chief Amran Saari, 53, the elephant has even entered into a nearby rubber plantation owned by the Malaysian Rubber Board (LGM). A few rubber trees have been destroyed, believed to be caused by the animal as elephant footprints are located nearby the trees.

Director of Johor Wildlife Deparment (Perhilitan), Jamalun Nasir Ibrahim has received report from Kampung Lukut residents about an adult elephant that is wandering around the village.

“I am confident the elephant is separated from its herd, believed to live near Panti forest which is around three kilometers from the village,” he spoke to Bernama in Johor Bahru.

Human-elephant encounters are not rare in Malaysia, and in some cases, have even resulted in the death of either party.

On 19 June, a two-year old elephant was found dead in a pool of blood by the roadside of the Gerik-Jeli highway, believed to be hit by a car.

In December 2011, Australian-based Jenna O’Grady Donly was killed by a pygmy elephant when she were trekking with her friends in Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah.

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Malaysia arrests Vietnamese man for 'ivory smuggling'

Authorities said the haul was worth about 300,000 ringgit (almost $70,000).

Malaysian authorities have arrested a Vietnamese man and seized a stash of elephant ivory worth almost $70,000, an official said Monday, highlighting the country's role as a hub for the wildlife-smuggling trade.

The man was detained Friday at Kuala Lumpur's main international airport after flying into the country from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, said airport customs chief Hamzah Sundang.

Officials stopped the suspected smuggler, whose identity was not revealed in the airport terminal as he was acting suspiciously.

When they checked his luggage, they found 10 packages containing elephant ivory weighing 36 kilograms (80 pounds) that had been cut into small pieces, which activists said was likely going to be fashioned into jewelry.

Authorities said the haul was worth about 300,000 ringgit (almost $70,000).

The man had been due to travel on to Vietnam, where there is high demand for ivory which is prized locally for decorative purposes and in traditional medicine.

The latest seizure underlines Malaysia's role as a transit point in the global wildlife smuggling trade. Earlier this month, Hong Kong customs officials discovered 7.2 tones of ivory tusks in a shipment from Malaysia.

The global trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after populations of the African giants dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to around 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

Anyone found guilty of importing rare animals or their parts into Malaysia can be jailed for up to three years and fined.

Kanitha Krishnasamy, acting regional director for wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, hailed the latest discovery by Malaysian authorities, which follows recent seizures of rhino horns and pangolins.

She said the operations were "crippling illegal traders from profiting from this business".

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Orphaned baby elephants choose Fonterra milk every time

Several orphaned baby elephants were rescued by the Rehabilitation Centre four years ago after their parents died. Located deep within a large forest reserve in Sabah, Malaysia, the Centre is renowned for its work to rehabilitate orphaned orangutans, as well as displaced sunbears and rhinos.

Hutt City Rotarian Debbie Mair, who was visiting the animal sanctuary at the time, was captivated by the tiny elephants with oversized ears, round bellies and friendly, gentle natures. Believed to be a small sub-species of the Asian elephant, Borneo’s endangered pygmy elephants live in the county’s tropical rain forests and are thought to have descended from captive elephants owned by the Sultan of Sulu in 1750.

Moved by the young animals’ plight, Debbie bought milk powder locally to feed the elephants but they did not thrive and some were lost over following months.  Debbie knew they had to take action to save the remaining baby elephants.

“Over the course of four weeks, we tested milk powders from New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and Japan with the young elephants, with vet oversight and care. The results were astounding. When the elephants were offered a choice of milk powders, they actively wanted to drink Fonterra’s NZMP Fortified Milk Powder. In fact the two-to-three year old elephants refused to drink the other brands - the Fonterra one was their absolute favourite.”

Debbie said tests showed that the baby elephants did much better on the Fonterra milk powder and gained nearly twice as much weight compared to the other types of powders, which is good for their growth and development.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Baby elephant killed in highway accident

IPOH, Malaysia —  A two-year-old elephant was found dead in a pool of blood by the roadside of the Gerik-Jeli Highway in Gerik, some 130 kilometers from here.

Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director Loo Kean Seong said state officers found the carcass at around 7 a.m. last Friday.

“While incidents like this do not happen often, we would like motorists to be extra careful when driving along this highway.

“We have already erected signboards to notify motorists that there would be elephant crossings along the stretch of the highway, so they need to be more responsible, especially when they are driving late at night or early in the morning,” said Loo.
Loo also urged motorists throughout the country to report to their respective state Perhilitan if they knocked into any endangered or protected species like elephants, tigers, tapirs or leopards.

This is so that we can at least investigate and bury the carcass instead of leaving it to rot at the roadside,” he added. Ecotourism and Conservation Society Malaysia (Ecomy) co-founder and chief executive officer Andrew Sebastian said the particular stretch of the highway itself should be viewed as a heritage road with potential for ecotourism.

In view of the wildlife viaducts and countless articles written about the Belum-Temengor forest complex, the road and its wildlife, he said motorists must be extra careful.

“This is to avoid accidents as well as to show courtesy, respect and adherence to wildlife laws that are meant to also protect our other protected users,” he added.

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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Miss Tripod gets a new prosthetic leg

KUALA GANDAH: Selendang the elephant, who nearly lost her front left leg in a wire-trap, a decade ago, now has new lease of life, after being fitted with a prosthetic leg.

The 12-year-old Pachyderm is now able to walk and balance normally with the aid of the prosthesis.

It was some 10 years-ago, that Selendang, then a three-year-old, almost lost her leg, when it was caught in a man-made wire trap, in August 2007, near Felda 3, Rompin.

Nicknamed Miss Tripod, her new prosthetic leg was through the generous courtesy of Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (Exim).

Her mahout Khairol Adha Mat Amin said fixing the prosthesis will not only involve physical but also psychological treatment as Selendang had also suffered a mental trauma.

“Due to her young age trauma, Selendang needs therapy every day to help regain her confidence. “Also, this is not her first time with the prosthetic leg, she was previously fitted with six others but elephants grow bigger every six months and we’re thankful for the donation,” he said.

“Our challenge here is to have it fitted and train Selendang as she has already begun to feel more comfortable without the prosthesis,” said Khairol.

Limb Brace Rehab Appliances prosthetic maker Frank Lim said in order to make it more comfortable for Selendang to walk, the prosthesis must be fool-proof so there's no room for her to open it.

“Assuming the cast fits well, she will be able to walk around the sanctuary … we will see within one week whether the prosthesis suits her or not,” said Lim.

Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) Deputy Director general Hasnan Yusop said the opportunity presented by Exim bank for Selendang was amazing, as it will finally see her have a specific prosthetic leg, suited for her.

Exim vice president Mohd Nasir Johar hoped the prosthetic leg, will enable Selendang to walk with confidence.

“I hope this will let the public be more aware of the Kuala Gandah sanctuary which is to help preserve the elephants

“We should not just rely on the government to protect the nature but we ourselves need to play our part,” said Nasir.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary closed due to floods

PETALING JAYA: The Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre is closed until further notice due to flooding.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) in a statement on Tuesday announced the temporary closure of the centre on its official page.

"Please be informed that the Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre had to be closed for tours and visitor activities from Tuesday (May 9 2017) till further notice because of flooding on the premises," it said.

The centre is located in Temerloh, Pahang and it is the base for the Elephant Unit that began the elephant translocation program in 1974.

Elephants are listed as a critically endangered species as less than 1,200 wild elephants roam in Peninsular Malaysia.


Malaysia: 1-tonne male elephant captured while roaming Kelantan park

GUA MUSANG: Rangers from the Kelantan Wildlife Department yesterday captured a potentially-dangerous male elephant at Taman Wangi here – the fifth captured by the department this year.

Its director, Mohd Hasdi Husin, said the elephant was roaming near the rear of the Gua Musang Fire Services and Rescue station when it was captured at about 2.45pm.

“The male elephant is believed to have come out from Gunung Rabong forest and had been roaming the area for several hours before he was captured,” he said today.

Mohd Hasdi said the male jumbo, weighing about one metric tonne, is believed to be between 12 and 15 years old.

“The elephant will be sent to Kuala Gandah, in Pahang, as soon as possible,” he added.

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Lasah will remain at Langkawi

Here comes bad news for friends of Lasah, the ageing work elephant: Despite public outrage at his alleged ill treatment and a long campaign to secure his release, Lasah will remain at the Langkawi Elephant Adventures (LEA) amusement park on Langkawi island in Kedah.

Malaysian wildlife authorities have decided they saw no reason to take the elephant away from the park and relocate him to an elephant shelter in Sabah as animal lovers would have liked.

A special team of officials, headed by Azimuddin Bahari, deputy secretary-general at the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, began investigating the condition of the elephant last March after months of allegations by animal rights advocates that the 37-year-old pachyderm had been facing routine abuse at the facility. Minister Wan Junaid Tuanku Jaafar himself visited the park to check on Lasah and speak with local staffers in March.

Based on inspections by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) and the Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (Mazpa), the elephant was deemed to be healthy and well kept. “The LEA management complied with all the regulations set by Perhilitan, and this report was supported by a consultant for wildlife management,” the committee said in a statement.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Malaysia seizes 18 rhino horns worth $3.1M from Mozambique

The horns were declared as art objects in a forged air bill with a fake final destination, says Malaysian airport customs director.

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA—Malaysian authorities said Monday that they have seized 18 rhino horns believed to have been smuggled into the country from Mozambique.

Airport customs director Hamzah Sundang said the horns were flown from Mozambique and transited in Doha before arriving at Kuala Lumpur’s airport on Friday. He said the horns, which weighed 51.4 kilograms and were worth 13.6 million ringgit ($3.1 million U.S.), were declared as art objects in a forged air bill with a fake final destination.

Hamzah said that custom officials made the seizure at the airport cargo warehouse based on a tip and that no arrests were made. The case is being investigated for smuggling of prohibited goods.

Rhino horns are believed to have medicinal properties and are in high demand in Asia.

In a report last year, the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC said Malaysia was a world transit hub for the flow of tons of illicit elephant ivory between Africa and Asia. It said seizures also linked Malaysia to Kenya and Uganda in the trafficking of 23 rhino horns from August 2010 to December 2013.

Conservationists say there are only around 30,000 rhinos left worldwide, compared to about half a million decades ago. All five remaining rhino species are threatened species, with three out of the five listed as critically endangered.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Kelantan Wildlife Dept transfer wild elephant that caused havoc in Jeli

The Kelantan Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) Saturday transferred a male wild elephant after the animal destroyed crops of residents in Kampung Kuala Long here last week.

Its deputy director Ahmad Kamsul Alias said the operation to transfer the five-tonne elephant was carried out by Perhilitan with the assistance of the National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah, Pahang.

"In the operation, we used two female elephants known as Rambai and Abot as decoys to lure the wild elephant.

"The elephant will be sent to Taman Negara, Pahang after this," he told reporters after completing the transfer operation Saturday.

Ahmad Kamsul said 18 personnel including eight employees of the conservation centre were involved in the operation which began at about 9am and ended at noon, Saturday.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

2 rare elephant species killed for ivory in Central Sabah

Sabre and another large bull are killed by poachers for ivory, with both carcasses found 1,500m from each other, says authorities.

LAHAD DATU: Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) teams are deeply saddened by the killing of two wild bull elephants by poachers near Segama River, Kawag Forest Reserve.

A first bull was found on Dec 27 last year in the middle of an estate bordering Kawag Forest Reserve while the second bull, was a gorgeous sabre-tusked bull called Sabre, that was earlier rescued from a plantation near Tawau and translocated to Kawag Forest Reserve three months ago after being collared by DGFC and WRU.

“We found the remains of Sabre on New Year’s Eve, with the satellite collar next to the skull,” said DGFC Director Benoit Goossens in a statement, today.

He said Sabre was rescued from a plantation near Tawau early October last year and fitted with a satellite collar and released into a forest reserve near Danum where he thought the animal would be safe.

“We were obviously wrong. In the space of a month, Sabre and another large bull were killed by poachers for ivory, both carcasess were found 1,500m from each other, although the killings did not happen at the same time,” said Goossens.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Taking down of elephant hunting syndicate hailed

The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) congratulates the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (DWNP) and the Malaysian Armed Forces for taking down one of Malaysia’s most wanted elephant hunting syndicates.

The joint effort, under the joint 1Malaysia Biodiversity Enforcement Operation Network (1MBEON), saw the arrest of seven locals in Kelantan and the confiscation of many weapons, including firearms, explosives and ammunition for shotguns and high-powered rifles. Also seized were wildlife parts, including tiger teeth and dried elephant meat.

Known for targeting elephants, gaur, serow and sambar in Kelantan, Terengganu and Perak, the group is allegedly responsible for at least 15 dead elephants poached for their ivory between 2013 and 2016. Chainsaws believed to have been used to remove tusks from the elephants were also confiscated.

“This case tells us that poachers have access to serious firepower and that they are becoming increasingly well organised. We hope the Royal Malaysian Police will assist DWNP in bringing these criminals to justice,” said Dr Chris R Shepherd, regional director of Traffic in South-East Asia.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Langkawi park elephant in good shape, says Natural Resources and Environment Ministry

PETALING JAYA: The viral photo of an elephant chained on all fours at Langkawi Elephant Adventures (LEA) on Langkawi island is in "good shape and healthy", said the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

Photos of a chained Asian elephant named Lasah have been circulated widely since July 2016, with claims from non-governmental organisation Friends of the Orangutans saying that Lasah was living in "deplorable conditions" and was being exploited at LEA.

The Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Perhilitan has conducted several inspections on LEA after receiving complaints about the elephant, adding that LEA has also been investigated several times.

It added in its statement that LEA was visited by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar along with the Ministry's deputy secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Azimuddin Bahari and Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director general Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim on Tuesday, saying that the visit was to inspect the premises and the elephant.

The Ministry said it concluded that all investigations and inspections "found the elephant in good shape and healthy".

"The condition of the premises is in compliance with the regulations such as having sufficient space and shelter, and so on," said the ministry in a statement.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Elephant boos couple who poos

TAIPING: It’s quite a tusk to find a place to poo when elephants could be around.
Two colleagues, a man and a woman, found that out the hard way when they were attacked by an elephant on the East-West Expressway near Gerik.

The pair had stopped their car on the highway, some 20km from Gerik, at about 5.30pm on Friday to relieve themselves from stomach aches.
The man, 48, and his 40-year-old female colleague from Jakarta, had got out from their car and gone behind some bushes by the roadside when the pachyderm pounced on them.
The man’s brother, known as Robert, said the victims had been on their way to Penang after a business event in Terengganu, reported The Star.

“He was relieving himself when he saw a ‘rock’ moving.
“He tried to run but was nudged by the elephant’s trunk and fell down,” Robert said at the Taiping Hospital where both victims are being treated.
“The elephant then stepped on him,” he added.
Robert said the woman, shocked by the incident, ran and tripped, injuring herself.
Perak Health Committee chairman Dr Mah Hang Soon, who visited the two on Saturday, said both victims had rib fractures.
“They are still being observed,” he said.
There were no further details on the elephant.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

NGO demands release of Lasah, the Langkawi elephant

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian NGO Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia (Foto) is up in arms over what it claims is continued abuse of an Asian elephant used for tourism purposes on the popular holiday island of Langkawi.

Foto initiated a campaign in July last year to urge the ministry of natural resources and environment (NRE) to relocate Lasah to the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary after photos of the 36-year-old elephant, chained on all four legs, were exposed.

“We were shocked to see images of Lasah shackled on all fours and later found out about his tragic past and present fate. It seems to us he has been wrung for financial profit for over 25 years by different individuals,” said Foto director Upreshpal Singh.

The NGO says Lasah has been used in zoos, a logging camp and the entertainment industry, was transferred to Langkawi island in 2006 and is today used by Langkawi Elephant Adventures (LEA) for rides and other activities. He is the only elephant in Langkawi. Lasah also appeared in the 1999 film Anna and the King featuring stars Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fatt.

In a report by a local news outlet, LEA director Serene Lau Xiao Woon refuted claims that the park was abusing Lasah and said the elephant was chained to help him recover from wounds on the face and legs.

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tusks seized in Kalimantan may have come from two dead Jumbos in Sabah

As often, science can come to the rescue. This time for determining whether pygmy elephant tusks seized a few days ago in North Kalimantan, Indonesia, belonged to two male pachyderms that were recently killed in Sabah.

Indonesian officials stopped a woman who was carrying five elephant tusks in Nunukan in North Kalimantan last week, and Malaysian officials suspect that at least some of those tusks might have come from the two elephants that were found dead in Sabah in late December last year. One of the elephants, nicknamed “Sabre,” made headlines worldwide just a few moths prior for its tusks, which had been growing backward in a downward arc.

Malaysian officials now want to have DNA tests conducted on the tusks seized in Indonesia to see if the tusks had come from Sabre and the other male pygmy elephant killed recently in Sabah. “So far, we don’t know exactly where the tusks could have come from,” said Augustine Tuuga, director of Sabah’s Wildlife Department. “It can only be ascertained when the Indonesian wildlife authorities had taken a statement from the person or conduct a DNA analysis to compare them with the specimens of animals killed in Sabah,” he added.

The wanton murder of the two endangered animals has enraged conservationists and animal lovers far and wide, especially since both were killed within a protected area in Kinabatangan. The two elephants were found 1.5 kilometers apart, both with bullet holes in their skulls, indicating that both animals had likely been killed by the same poacher or poachers. The state’s Wildlife Department offered a RM10,000 reward to anyone who could assist officials in tracking down those involved in the elephants’ death.

Over the past years and decades, the number of Malaysia’s pygmy elephants has dropped precipitously, exposing the tuskers to the threat of extinction in the wild. The pachyderms have seen large parts of their ancestral habitats lost forever or else badly fragmented as vast swathes of forest have been cut down by loggers and palm oil cultivators.

Elephants need ample space for roaming far and wide as they forage for food. Because of the loss of their natural habitats, however, they have ended up coming into increasing contact with humans who have been encroaching on their habitats. This has increased the risk of conflicts between elephants and people. Sadly, poachers, too, have been gaining easer access to wild elephants owing to the relentless shriveling up of forests.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Smallest elephants of the world being brutally killed

KUALALAMPUR: (Web Desk) – The elephants in Malaysia’s Boreno island are considered the smallest kind of the specie due to their small size. According to one estimate, these elephants took around 30,000 years to come into their current form.

According to foreign media reports, these elephants are generally hunted less compared to the African cousins but still the greed for ivory threatens these elephants to extinction. The cutting down of the jungles is also leaving these elephants with lesser and lesser space to live in. According to an estimate, only 1500 to 2000 of these elephants survive today.

According to zoologists, the hunting of elephants in Boreno island wasn’t considered a major issue previously but the recent developments show that the professional hunters are hunting down these animals to extract ivory.

On the other hand, Wildlife Conservation Society’s Vice President Elizabeth Bennet expressed great grief over the situation, saying that the killing of these small elephants was gruesome, especially when the world is finally rising up to save the African elephant and the efforts to close down ivory markets are at their peak.

She said that the remaining elephants could only be saved through strong action against those involved in heinous crimes against them and such markets are closed down.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

RM10,000 bounty over elephant murders

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) is offering a RM10,000 reward for informants with valid information on the two wild bull elephants that were slaughtered by poachers for their ivory near the Segama River, Kawag Forest Reserve.

The department has asked those with information to call the department at 013-5441980.

The first bull was found on Dec 27, last year, in the middle of an estate bordering Kawag Forest Reserve, while the second bull, a sabre-tusked bull called Sabre was found on New Year’s Eve.

Sabre was rescued from a plantation near Tawau and translocated to the Kawag Forest Reserve three months earlier, after it was collared by the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU). When the carcass was discovered, the satellite collar was next to its skull.

The tusks of both bulls were removed.

DGFC Director, Benoit Goossens had explained that after Sabre was rescued at a plantation near Tawau last October, he was fitted with a satellite collar and later released at the forest reserve near Danum where it was thought that the bull would be safe.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Friday, January 06, 2017

Elephants Tortured for our Entertainment

A few weeks ago, I went on a trip to Borneo, Malaysia with my grade for a school trip. This trip was very educational for me because I learned a lot about endangered animals and it opened my eyes to a lot of things I never thought was relevant to our world. The facility that we stayed at the first two nights was a rehabilitation centre for endangered animals, but their main focus were orangutans and sun bears. The guide talked to our group about how harmful taming wild animals can be. What affected me the most, however, was what I learned about elephant riding.

Elephant riding is a popular attraction in Asian countries such as Thailand, India, and Bangladesh. It seems like a fun and harmless thing to do, but it does affect the elephant in many ways. Elephants are big, strong creatures and they rule the places they live in. Wild elephants are extremely hard and dangerous to tame. It can be life threatening to humans. In order to train them, 'mahout' (elephant trainers) must crush their spirit – starting from when they are still babies.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Friday, November 11, 2016

Enraged elephant attacks couple in Tawau

TAWAU: A couple sustained serious injuries when they were attacked by an elephant at the Brumas estate area here, on Wednesday. In the 6.15am incident, Santoko Satria, 44, and his wife Susie Sudirman were on their way to work at a timber plantation when they came in contact with the elephant.

District police chief Assistant Commissioner Fadil Marsus said the animal suddenly went berserk and began chasing the couple.

"It attacked them with its trunk, tossing them in the air, causing them to land hard on the ground. "The wild elephant then chased and trampled the woman before fleeing into the forest." He said the woman sustained serious bodily and face injuries. Both victims were brought to the district hospital for treatment.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Elephants on rampage, trampling crops, scaring villagers

LENGGONG: Eight wild elephants have been making lives of the villagers at Kampung Chepor a nightmare for the past two weeks. The villagers, mostly rubber tappers, have not had a good night’s sleep as they live in fear of the next attack.

The wild elephants are said to have trampled on precious crops and the residents fear for their safety. In the most recent incident, last night a herd of elephants made their way into the village and destroyed crops as well as trampled on dozens of banana trees.

Tarmizi Ghazali, the village’s headman said the herd came after dusk destroying the crops and making loud noises, which sent residents scurrying away. He added that the residents were only able to watch from afar and did not dare chase the herd away.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Environmentalist leads Msia's Asian elephants towards brighter future

KUALA TERENGANU: Do not take our wildlife for granted as we have already lost the leatherback turtle and Sumatran rhinoceros, warned an environmental expert.

Wong Ee Phin, a final year PhD student at University of Nottingham Malaysia in Semenyih, Selangor, said that it is high time Malaysian stakeholders value and protect our flora and fauna for the benefit of future generations.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10 rare pygmy elephants found dead in Borneo

Ten endangered pygmy elephants have been found dead this month in Malaysian Borneo and are thought to have been poisoned, conservation officials said Tuesday.

A pygmy elephant calf can be seen on Malaysia's Borneo island in this image provided by Malaysia wildlife authorities on January 21, 2012. Ten endangered pygmy elephants have been found dead this month in Borneo and are thought to have been poisoned, conservation officials said Tuesday.

Wildlife authorities in Sabah, a state on the eastern tip of the island, have formed a taskforce together with the police and WWF to investigate the deaths.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Friday, January 11, 2013

Local elephants facing extinction

PETALING JAYA (Dec 13, 2012): Elephants in Peninsular Malaysia are in danger of becoming extinct, says World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia.

It is estimated that there are only about 1,220 to 1,680 Asian elephants left in Peninsular Malaysia. This is based on the data collected from 2000 to 2012 by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP).

WWF Malaysia Species Conservation manager Dr Han Kwai Hin said habitat loss, illegal hunting, and retaliatory killing are the major threats that cause the number of wild elephants to dwindle.

To read the full article, click on the story title

24 tons of ivory seized in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur -

Malaysian customs have seized 24 tons of unprocessed elephant tusks worth almost $20 million, the largest haul in the country to date, officials said on Tuesday.

About 1 500 tusks hidden in two containers were discovered by customs officials at the country's main port of Klang, in the western state of Selangor.

The tusks had been hidden within pieces of timber inside the containers, which had originated from the west African nation of Togo.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our gentle giants running out of space

Sporadic reports of elephant sightings have brought into sharp focus the continuously accelerating rate of which we are losing wildlife habitat, a concern that indicates elephants are running out of space and time.
Incidents of human-elephant conflict have increased. Degradation and the diversion of elephant habitat for human activities creates a clear need to adopt insightful and proactive measures to secure a future for what is one of the world’s most exotic, intelligent, and humble animals.
Increasing amounts of land granted to large iron ore mines seriously threatens the pachyderms. The fragile ecosystem sustaining some of the earth’s most endangered species is collapsing under the weight of relentless industrialization, as the government pushes ahead with pro-industry policies in the name of development...

To read the full article click on the story title

Monday, July 02, 2012

'Switch on your electric fences' Sabah Wildlife director

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - The use of electric fencing at plantations can help ease human-elephant conflicts, said Sabah Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu.

However, he said despite the fact that some big landowners had fenced their estates to avoid crop raiding, many owners still did not switch on the power on their electric fences.

To read the full article click on the story title

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sanctuary near Kenyir Lake attracts 31,140 local and foreign visitors

R.S.N. MURALI, The Star
May 1, 2009

HULU TERENGGANU: In just a year, the Sungai Ketiar elephant sanctuary in the hinterland of Kenyir Lake has wooed an outstanding 31,140 visitors.

Both locals and foreigners, the visitors travelled 95km from Kuala Berang to see the three wild Asian elephants, including a female calf, at the sanctuary.

Another 150 wild jumbos will be added to the 15,000ha site over the next three years.

Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, who visited the sanctuary recently, expressed contentment over its progress.

“It is a unique tourism product the state will focus on while promoting the other attractions already in place at the Kenyir area,” he said.

Ahmad said the visitors could feed the tame elephants and ride on them over a large area.

He said the sanctuary was accessible via the Kuala Berang-Tasik Kenyir-Aring-Gua Musang bypass road.

To read the full article click on the story title

Forestry staff in coma after bashing by poachers

Daily Express
April 24, 2009

Kota Kinabalu: The Forestry Department has been forced to engage the
services of a security firm with armed personnel following a retaliatory
attack by a group of suspected illegal hunters earlier this month.

The attack, involving a group of about 20 men, armed with machetes,
brass knuckles, hockey sticks, samurai swords, rambo knives and sticks,
among others, occurred at the Ulu Segama-Malua District Forestry Office
Base Camp at Sungai Kawag, Ulu Segama Forest Reserve, Lahad Datu at
about 9pm on April 2.

Sabah Forestry Department Director Datuk Sam Mannan said the one-hour
incident left District Forestry Officer Indra Sunjoto seriously injured
and unconscious.
To read the full article click on the story title

Terengganu to focus on tourism (Malaysia) By SIMON KHOO and R.S.N. MURALI, The Star April 18, 2009 KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government plans to

April 18, 2009

KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government plans to make tourism its main revenue earner instead of just depending on royalties from petroleum and gas, Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said.

Ahmad (BN-Kijal) said plans were in the pipeline to increase more tourist products to attract more visitors, citing the recent opening of a mini zoo in Kemaman and beautification of Tasik Kenyir as examples.

“We want to make the tourism sector our backbone and top revenue earner in the years to come.

“This is because unlike commodities like petroleum and gas, it would not deplete in supply.

“The recent flunctuation of global oil price also create uncertainties,” he said in his winding up speech at the last day sitting of the state assembly here on Wedneday.

To read the full article click on the story title

Wildlife under threat

The Star
March 31, 2009

AT the rate of deforestation and habitat fragmentation in their state, Johoreans will have to brace for more human-wildlife conflicts.

The northern and eastern districts of Johor – Segamat, Mersing, and Kota Tinggi – can expect to experience more intrusions of elephants, in particular, into plantations and other farm land.
As forests are cleared. wild jumbos have to be relocated to other areas.

The southern state has witnessed a prolonged conflict with the pachyderm since the late 1980s as forests were cleared for human settlements and converted into agricultural land especially for oil palm plantations by the private sector as well as the Felda (Federal Land Development Agency) scheme.

The problem is to be expected as these forests are important wildlife habitats, judging from the three huge areas gazetted – the Endau-Kluang, Endau-Kota Tinggi and Segamat Wildlife Reserves (WR) – in 1933. Segamat WR has ceased to exist today.

The Department of Wildlife and National Park (Perhilitan) has translocated 99 elephants from this region since 1994. The displaced creatures were mostly relocated to Endau Rompin National Park and the Terengganu side of Taman Negara.

To read the full article click on the story title

Elephant Attack: 18,000 Oil Palm Trees Destroyed

April 04, 2009

GUA MUSANG, April 4 (Bernama) - A company, which has been awarded a contract to plant oil palms near Pos Blau here, suffered huge losses when 18,000 of the one-year-old palm trees in the 600 hectare plantation were destroyed by elephants since a month ago.

Syarikat Pembangunan Ladang Khazanah Nadi Alam Enterprise manager, Mohd Khazanah Ab Rahman estimated the company losses at almost RM500,000.

He said a herd of five elephants entered the plantation almost every night and destroyed the oil palm trees, as well as banana trees grown as cash crop at the plantation.

The elephants had destroyed about 10,000 of the 75,000 banana trees in the plantation, he told Bernama here.

Mohd Khazanah said workers at the plantation had taken various measures, including burning old tyres at night, to keep away the elephants, but were futile, adding that replanting of the oil palms would be carried out only after the pachyderm returned to the forest area.

He said the attacks by the elephants also caused the 60 workers at the plantation to fear for their safety.

To read the full article click on the story title

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Borneo pygmy elephants, planters battle for land

Niluksi Koswanage, Reuters
February 23, 2009

SUKAU, Malaysia (Reuters Life!) - Deprived of access to his favourite food, a pygmy elephant trumpets furiously and charges at wildlife officials, a manifestation of this rare species' battle against Malaysia's key palm oil industry.

Some herds of pygmy elephants, an endangered species according to conservation body the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), are thriving on the fruit of palm oil plantations that encroach on their domains on Borneo island.

This has intensified the challenges to a mainstay of the economy in this South East Asian country of 27 million people, and the aggression the elephants show against humans.

For the full article click on the story title

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Survey Finds More than 600 Asian Elephants

14 January 2009

A new survey of dung has revealed a population of hundreds of endangered Asian elephants living in a Malaysian park. The animals could be the largest-known set of these pachyderms in Southeast Asia.

The researchers counted dung piles to estimate that there are 631 Asian elephants living in Taman Negara National Park — a 4,343 square kilometer (1,676 square mile) protected area in the center of Peninsular Malaysia. This result confirms the largest-known population of elephants remaining in this part of the world, according to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), which partnered to study the elephants.

Asian elephants are endangered due to habitat loss and poaching; between 30,000 and 50,000 may remain in 13 Asian countries. The Asian elephant is listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and has seen a drastic reduction in total population across its range as a result of illegal poaching, increased human-wildlife conflict and other threats.

For the full story click on the title of the article

Elephant Problem Solvable If Illegal Logging Stopped

January 3, 2009

BANDA ACEH, Jan 3 (Bernama) -- Wild elephant incursions into human settlements in Aceh will continue if nothing is done to stop illegal logging in forest areas, Antara news agency reported quoting a local nature conservation official as saying.
"The problem will persist unless illegal logging is stopped," Andi Basrul, head of the Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), said here Saturday.

During December 2008, wild elephants had invaded a number of villages in Aceh, damaged a few houses and injured several people.

Basrul said his agency could not do much to stop the animals' incursions because they were merely reacting to the damage being done to their habitat.

For the full story click on the title of the article

Friday, October 24, 2008

Injured elephants on the rise, says Sabah wildlife dept

New Straits Times
October 11, 2008

The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) has a mammoth problem on its hands.

It is increasingly concerned over the rise in the number of injured and dead elephants in the state.
In one instance, a 25-year veteran wildlife guide and lecturer was reduced to tears when he saw a calf (young elephant) in excruciating pain after falling prey to a man-made trap in Kinabatangan.

SWD director Laurentius Ambu noted that the bigger issue facing the department involved elephants getting injured or maimed, mostly due to man-made traps and subsequently succumbing to the injuries.

He said that early last month, a calf was found dead from unknown causes.

“Such traps are usually set by oil palm plantation workers to make ends meet by trapping wild boars and deers for sale to restaurants or self-consumption.

To read the full article click on the story title

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Visitors To Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Up 34 Pct In 2007, Says ECER

September 29. 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 (Bernama) -- The National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah has seen a 34 percent increase in visitors in 2007 compared to the previous year.
Earmarked as a wildlife reserve under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), the centre received a total of 81,017 visitors last year from 60,436 in 2006, ECER said in statement here today.
The centre's elephant unit chief, Nasharuddin Othman, said most of the foreign tourists who visited the elephant sanctuary were from Australia, UK, New Zealand, Japan and Germany.
He said the number of both local and foreign visitors keep increasing every year.
"In 2005, there were 38,863 visitors. This figure rose to 60,436 in 2006. We have attracted a lot of visitors due to the fact that this is the only place in Malaysia where visitors are able to observe closely and understand the handling and management of trans-located Asian elephants," Nasharuddin said.

To read the full article click on the story title

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Probe into elephant's death

Jaswinder Kaur, NEw Straits Times
September 20, 2008

KOTA KINABALU: The death of a male Borneo Pygmy elephant near a jungle resort in the Kinabatangan district early this month has sparked an investigation by the Sabah Wildlife Department.
The department is probing the cause of death of the elephant, estimated to be about two years old. Its carcass showed no visible injuries.

The department's officer-in-charge in Kota Kinabatangan, Roland Nuin, received information about the dead elephant on Sept 2 and sent a team to the scene.

"Unfortunately, by the time the carcass was found and reported to us, it was already decomposing, which makes it hard for us to determine the cause of death," Nuin said in a statement issued yesterday.

To read the full article click on the story title

Rare images captured in the wild

Roy Goh, New Straits Times
September 18, 2008

KOTA KINABALU: Scientists doing research in the jungles of Sabah have recently returned with some exciting photographs.

One was a picture of the rare Sumatran rhinocerous captured with a motion triggered camera, while the other was a series of images of two adult elephants helping a month-old calf across a river.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Laurentius Ambu said both achievements would go a long way in efforts to preserve the two rare and endangered species in the Sabah jungles.

"Monitoring and protection of the animals through the research work done by scientists can boost their number as it helps deter poachers and secure habitat from further degradation and illegal encroachment."

The image of the Sumatran rhino, taken from its rear, is the second made in the wild and this time it was by scientists Ross Jo and Andrew Hearn who are studying the Bornean-clouded leopard under the Global Canopy Programme, which is based in the UK.

To read the full article and see some of the pictures click on the story title

Research on jumbos’ social life

The Star
September 15, 2008

SANDAKAN: A conservationist is now studying the social structure of Sabah’s Borneo elephants after past research had focused on genetics.

“We do not yet understand their actual family structures and group dynamics,” said Nurzhafarina Othman, a biologist at Danau Girang Field Centre.

Nurzhafarina, whose reasearch would be based on actual observations, would be working with the Elephant Conservation Unit (co-founded by French non-governmental organisation Hutan and the Sabah Wildlife Depart-ment).

DNA information would also be collected via the faeces of the elephants.

The data gathered would assist the department in managing the Kinabatangan elephant population.

As the elephants have lost much of their habitat due to land conversion, they need to “zig-zag” across the land to find food, Nurzhafarina said.

“And of course this includes the need to cross rivers to get to feeding grounds.

“However, river crossings are quite stressful for elephants, especially the young, which have to contend with strong currents and the dangers of crocodiles,” said Nurzhafarina.

Wildlife experts worldwide often speak about the protective and nurturing nature of elephants, which are quite regularly seen in the wild.

The Sabah population of Bornean Elephant was estimated at about 1,500 in a 2002 study lead by the department.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

First elephant life study takes off in Borneo

Agence France Presse
July 14, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — Wildlife researchers have fitted three Bornean elephants with satellite collars in Malaysia's Sabah state, marking the beginning of the first study of their "virtually unknown" social structure.

A conservation biologist in charge of the project said studies on the genetic aspects of the Bornean elephant have been carried out in the past but "we have yet to study their social structure which is virtually unknown."

"The collaring of the elephants is to enhance our access to them," said Nurzhafarina Othman, of the Danau Girang Field Centre.

"We will carry out actual observation and collect DNA information via the faeces of particular individuals," she said in a statement over the weekend.

To read the full article click on the story title

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Determined elephant just won't give up

Electric New Paper
June 05, 2008

THEY thought their job was almost done. Shoot the rogue elephant with a tranquiliser dart and wait for it to drop.

But Malaysia's Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) team suffered a momentary scare when one of two wild elephants pulled out the dart with its trunk.

Sent to Segamat, Johor to capture the two beasts, Perhilitan's elephant capture unit started searching for the pair of wild male elephants on 21 May, reported China Press.

And just a week later, they found them, running wild in an orchard.

Yesterday morning, Perhilitan dispatched 24 workers and a pair of trained female elephants to apprehend the rogue pair.

Both elephants were missing tusks - the older one had none while the younger elephant had only one.

The tuskless elephant posed no trouble as the team led it out of the orchard. It only took 30 minutes before it was coaxed on to a lorry.

But the one-tusked elephant, though it was smaller, was not so gullible.

Click on the story title for full article

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rampaging elephants moved to Taman Negara

The Star
June 3, 2008

LABIS: Two wild elephants, caught after they went on a rampage at a farm in Kampung Tenang, have been transferred to Taman Negara.

Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) officers carried out the transfer yesterday.

The elephants, aged 10 and 15, will be released into the wild.

Lancang Pahang Elephant Operation commander Nasaruddin Othman said the elephants were caught between May 26 and May 27 after two villages in Kota Tinggi were destroyed by several elephants two months ago.

“We started searching for the elephants last Wednesday ... We're still looking for one that escaped.”

It is learnt that villagers complained that more than 8ha of farms were destroyed by the elephants resulting in RM30,000 worth of damage.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Monday, June 02, 2008

Wild elephant captured

New Straits Times
May 29, 2008

JERANTUT: A wild elephant which had been destroying plantations in three villages near Felda Padang Piol here, has been captured.

The male elephant, believed to have been separated from its herd in the Padang Piol Forest Reserve two months ago, had been giving villagers of Kampung Lada, Kampung Paya Garut and Kampung Beletir the jitters.

It had wandered alone and damaged the villagers' fruit orchards.

Last week, about 20 Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) officers were despatched to trap the elephant.

The animal was finally caught last Thursday and yesterday, it was sent back to the forest reserve with some help from two female elephants, Cek Mek and Lokimala.

For the full story click on the blog title

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Presumed Extinct Javan Elephants May Have Been Found Again - In Borneo

Science Daily
April 18, 2008

ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2008) — The Borneo pygmy elephant may not be native to Borneo after all. Instead, the population could be the last survivors of the Javan elephant race – accidentally saved from extinction by the Sultan of Sulu centuries ago, a new publication suggests.

The origins of the pygmy elephants, found in a range extending from the north-east of the island into the Heart of Borneo, have long been shrouded in mystery. Their looks and behaviour differ from other Asian elephants and scientists have questioned why they never dispersed to other parts of the island.

But a new paper published supports a long-held local belief that the elephants were brought to Borneo centuries ago by the Sultan of Sulu, now in the Philippines, and later abandoned in the jungle. The Sulu elephants, in turn, are thought to have originated in Java.

Javan elephants became extinct some time in the period after Europeans arrived in South-East Asia. Elephants on Sulu, never considered native to the island, were hunted out in the 1800s.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Thursday, April 17, 2008

'Shocking' the elephants away

Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah, NST Online
April 16, 2008

JELI: Villagers in the district are happy that an electric fence is being built to keep wild elephants away from their smallholdings.

Construction of the fence began early this year and so far, about two kilometres of fence had been erected between Kampung Lubok Bongor and Kuala Sungai Tapah.

Jeli member of parliament Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, who is the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, announced the construction of the fence two years ago.

The fence, when completed, will be more than 10km long and is expected to cost about RM1.6 million.

It will prevent the intrusion of elephants into fruit orchards and rubber and oil palm smallholdings in the area.
Lubok Bongor villagers said no intrusions had been reported in their smallholdings since work to erect the fence started in February.

Rubber smallholder Che Senik Che Musa, 58, said villagers were glad that their problem with the elephants would end soon.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Elephants Go On Rampage In Kampung Kelian Dalam Siong

April 13, 2008

BALING, April 13 (Bernama) -- A group of wild elephants believed to be from the Rimba Teloi forest reserve went on a rampage in Kampung Kelian Dalam Siong near here last night causing untold damage to local residents' plants and trees.

Banana, jackfruit and oil palm trees in the Risda Mini Estate and smallholdings there suffered various degrees of damage.

A resident, Mansor Yaakob, 55, said he suffered severe losses when the jackfruit trees he planted 15 years ago, were destroyed by the elephants.

"I am afraid there will be more destruction by the elephants if no action is taken by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan)," he told Bernama today.

Mansor said some of the residents had also bumped into the elephants at a river near their plantation.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Kelantan rangers capture stray bull elephant

Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah, New Straits Times
December 16, 2007

KELANTAN wildlife rangers have captured a bull elephant which strayed into Kampung Kalai here on Friday.
The elephant, which have been nicknamed "Awang Kalai", is believed to have been separated from the main herd while moving to higher grounds to avoid rising flood waters.
Jeli wildlife chief Mohd Hazlin Qozek Alladdin (correct) said the elephant, aged between 10 and 15 years, was found by a villager who alerted the department.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rarest elephants protection plans

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BBC News
September 1, 2007

Scientists helping protect the smallest and rarest elephants in the world are hoping to set up a fieldwork centre on the island of Borneo.
The Bornean elephant is only found in the northern part of the island and was recognised as a new subspecies in 2003.
Cardiff University has also studied orang-utans in the Malaysian state of Sabah, Borneo, for several years.
The rainforest where both species live has been damaged by logging and the growth of oil palm plantations.
The elephants live in the Kinabatangan flood plain in Sabah and there are thought to be around 1,500- 2,000 in the wild.
The team from Cardiff University's school of biosciences has been working with the authorities in Sabah on conservation projects for many years.
Mike Bruford, professor of biodiversity, has just returned from Borneo where he was discussing opening the field centre along with the Sabah wildlife department.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cross Country: Elephant’s relocation a village affair

T. N. Alagesh, New Straits Times
August 27, 2007

JERANTUT: Usually quiet Kampung Baru was packed with hundreds of villagers and curious on-lookers on Friday.

The centre of attention was a male elephant that had been captured in the nearby jungle.

Twenty Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) officers were attempting to relocate him to the Kenyir Lake forest in Terengganu, and found the crowd a nuisance.

Some on-lookers even followed the officers into the jungle for a closer look at the animal, despite many warnings from the officers to keep their distance.

The officers brought along female elephants Cek Mek and Lokimala, from the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary, to coax the male elephant to climb into the back of the lorry without fuss.

The male had reportedly damaged villagers’ fruit orchards. A team of seven officers tracked him for five days before finding him a week ago.

For the full story click on the blog title

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Habitat Loss Threatens Pygmy Elephants

VIJAY JOSHI, The Associated Press

August 8, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Satellite tracking of pygmy elephants has found that the endangered animals _ unique to Borneo island _ are under threat due to logging and commercial plantations encroaching on their habitat, conservationists said Thursday.

A World Wildlife Fund study, based on two years of satellite tracking, found that pygmy elephants thrive best in forests on flat lowlands and in river valleys _ the same terrain preferred by loggers and oil palm plantations.

About 40 percent of forest in the Malaysian state of Sabah, where most pygmy elephants live, has been lost to logging, conversion for plantations and human settlement over the last four decades, WWF said.

Very little was known about pygmy elephants until a chance DNA analysis in 2003 revealed them to be a distinct subspecies of Asian elephants, which triggered a new effort to conserve them.

In June 2005, the WWF set in motion a landmark project to track pygmy elephants in the rain forests of Sabah by placing collars fitted with transmitters around the necks of five elephants, known to be leaders of their herds.

The collars beamed their locations via satellite to a WWF-Malaysia computer as often as once a day in the first study of its kind, providing valuable information about the elephants' grazing habits and movement patterns.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Fireworks the only hope for villagers to stave off elephant invasion

R.S.N. MURALI, The Star

July 31, 2007

HULU TERENGGANU: Villagers here are resorting to fireworks to scare away elephant herds that they claimed had been ravaging their crops over the last few weeks.

Some of the villagers in Durian Bador, Kuala Menjing, Sekayu and Padang Setar here said they had once caught sight of 13 elephants at their smallholds, mostly planted with corn and other food crops.

They said this had been going on for more than a decade, but began to get worse over the last few weeks.

"We are terrified and concerned that the elephants may turn violent if confronted," said villager Abdul Razak Samad, 60.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Monday, May 28, 2007

Elephant hit by train breaks legs, lands in ravine

Junita Mat Rashid, New Straits Times
May 25, 2007

SEGAMAT: An elephant crossing a railway line in Bekok early yesterday sustained two broken hind legs when it was hit by a train.

The impact of the collision flung the animal, believed to be 10 years old and weighing about a tonne, into a 15m ravine near the tracks.

Wildlife and National Parks Department officers and doctors from the Veterinary Services Department were trying to save the elephant, which was reported to be in critical condition.

To read the full story click on the link in the blog title

Monday, April 09, 2007

Crop raider elephant collared in K'tangan

Daily Express
March 23, 2007

Kota Kinabalu: A male elephant, estimated to be 55-60 years of age, was captured and collared in Gomantong Plantation, Lower Kinabatangan, last Sunday before it was released into Lot 6 of Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

This is the second elephant collared using the GSM collar done by the Sabah Wildlife Department and WWF-Malaysia as part of the Bornean Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation (BBEC) activities, which advocates sustainable approaches for the conservation of endangered biodiversity and ecosystems in Sabah.

The BBEC programme runs five years (ending March 2007), and is implemented by the Sabah Government agencies and Universiti Malaysia Sabah, and assisted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The programme applies an integrated approach to cover four essential areas, which are Research & Education, Park Management, Habitat Management and Public Awareness.

The elephant was believed to be trapped in a small forest patch, Hutan Simpan Pusat Penyelidikan Jabatan Pertanian, during the October 2006 flood, trapping the elephants there the last five months.

Senior Manager of Gomantong Sdn Bhd (a TSH group member), Sam Jik Gze, thanked the Sabah Wildlife Department (led by Dr Symphorosa Sipangkui) and WWF-Malaysia (led by Raymond Alfred) for coordinating the capture, satellite-fitting and translocating of the elephant from the said area.

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Malaysia's warning to highway drivers: Don't honk at elephants

The Associated Press
March 25, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Elephants are straying onto one of Malaysia's main highways, prompting the government to warn drivers not to trigger a possible rampage by honking at the animals, a news report said Sunday.

The warning came after a motorist claimed to have been chased for about 50 meters (160 feet) earlier this month by a herd of elephants that had been blocking part of the East-West Highway. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Sazmi Miah, parliamentary secretary of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, said elephants are often spotted crossing the 125-kilometer (78-mile) highway, which cuts through forested territory in peninsular Malaysia.

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Even elephants need their own personal space

Borneo Bulletin
March 28, 2007
KOTA KINABALU (NST) - Elephants, too, need their personal space.
This is especially so in the wake of increasing human encroachment into their natural habitat.
Raymond Alfred, project manager for World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia's Sorel (Sabah Orang Utan, Rhinoceros and Elephant Landscape) Project said elephant corridors may be the answer to reducing 'conflicts' with elephants.
"Once they are separated from main herds because of development, the risk of conflict with humans increases, particularly at villages, plantations and along roads."
Alfred said the elephant corridors needed to be large enough to contain the animals.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

A rogue herd's year-long reign of terror ends

Shahrum Sayuthi, New Straits Times
January 27, 2007
KUANTAN, SAT.: She was the ringleader, steering her cohorts on destructive rampages around several villages and signalling the retreat when things got too hot. Her year-long reign of terror ended yesterday.
The female elephant, believed to be 20 to 30 years old, was caught after her latest exploit at Kampung Nadak Seberang last Thursday.
For the past year she has led the raids of about 20 elephants on oil palm holdings and orchards here and in Panching, destroying crops and trees.
State Wildlife and National Parks Protection Department director, Inche Ali Che Aman, said after complaints from the villagers a team of 10 rangers was sent to track down the rogue herd on Thursday. The next day they found the elephants in a nearby forest.

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Monday, January 08, 2007


New Straits Times
January 7, 2007
A young researcher whose heart is as big as the animals she’s determined to save lets JESSICA LIM tag along on her unusual quest.
AFTER months of battling shin-high, leech-filled mud, dense undergrowth, wasps and a kind of poisonous tree sap that breaks skin into raw blisters, the petite girl squatted happily by the treasure she sought.
It was a shimmering, lustrous pile of elephant dung.
"Wow. Very fresh. So nice," said elephant researcher Cynthia Boon as she broke into a smile.
Boon pinched a bit of the human head-sized bolus and sniffed it.
The team whipped out their dung-assessing gear — a GPS reader, compass, measuring tape and identification tag — and began noting how far it was decayed, the size and exact location.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Trust seeks to preserve Borneo's forests

Takahiro Tsujimoto, Daily Yomiuri
December 14, 2006
A trust established in October to preserve Malaysia's diminishing rain forests is seeking donors to help buy land to create preservation areas for elephants, orangutans and other animals in Sabah State in Borneo.
The Borneo Conservation Trust plans to buy 5,936 hectares of land along the Kinabatangan River and 270 hectares along the Segama River at a cost of about 6 billion yen.
The trust was the brainchild of Toshinori Tsubouchi, a wildlife specialist dispatched by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to Sabah, and is promoted by Saraya Co., an Osaka-based company producing soap made from palm oil made in Sabah.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Don't honk when you see stray elephants on the road

Don't honk when you see stray elephants on the road
Fah Foong Lian, The Star
October 24, 2006

GERIK: Motorists along the East-West Highway must not honk or switch on the car headlights when they come across elephants on the road.

Perak Wildlife and National Parks Department director Shabrina Mohd Shariff said the advice was among other tips put up on a signboard to inform motorists on what to do in such a situation.

The signboards, she said, were put up following reports of elephants straying onto the highway located next to the Belum Forest Reserve, which is the elephants' habitat.

"By honking, the elephants will get agitated and may attack the motorists," she said on Monday.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wild elephants stampede through northern Malaysian plantation

Wild elephants stampede through northern Malaysian plantation
The Associated Press
October 14, 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Wild elephants rampaged through a Malaysian plantation district, trampling more than 1,000 banana and rubber trees, a news report said Saturday.

At least four elephants believed to be foraging for food ventured out of a jungle Friday and tore through a rural plantation in the northern state of Kedah, shocking villagers whose livelihood depends on the crops, The Star newspaper reported.

"I hope they will not make rampaging a habit," said resident Hussin Rashid, whose 300 banana trees were destroyed. The report included a photograph of villagers pointing at flattened trees.

Villagers have urged wildlife officials to patrol the area over the next few days to prevent the pachyderms from returning amid fears that they might attack humans.

Elephants are common in Malaysia's tropical forests. Their habitat has been reduced in recent years by logging and clearing of land for development activities, causing some to occasionally invade nearby plantations and farms for food.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Lost elephant back in Belum

Lost elephant back in Belum
New Straits Time September 13, 2006 JELI:

A lost juvenile elephant, which has been roaming the jungles and orchards near Kampung Lata Janggut near here for the past month, is back in familiar territory.

Captured by the state Wildlife rangers on Saturday, the pachyderm was taken on a two-and-a-half-hour journey to the Belum state park in Grik, Perak, where it was released yesterday. The operation started at 8am with two trained elephants, Cik Mek and Lokimala, guiding the young one out from near a stream, behind the village where it had been kept since its capture, to a timber camp 1km away. It was sedated and given antibiotics for an injured foot before being put on a lorry to the Jeli District Wildlife office where it was fed and washed.

Cik Mek and Lokimala, trained for such a task, were brought here by a 12-member team from the National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah, Pahang, on Monday. Department elephant unit head Nasharuddin Othman said Cik Mek was from the centre while Lokimala was based at the Malacca Zoo. He said the rogue elephant, believed to be 18 years old, had been feasting on fruits and damaging fruit trees belonging to villagers. "The elephant was released in Belum in the evening as it was much cooler and to prevent it from getting stressed."