Tuesday, December 04, 2018

EXIM bank adopts a handicapped elephant


EXIM Bank today continues with its CSR commitment in the area of elephant conservation, education and elephants’ welfare at the Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre (NECC) by adopting a handicapped baby elephant named Elly.

Last year, EXIM Bank refurbished and redesigned the educational materials for Kuala Gandah NECC as well as funding a custom-made prosthetic leg for a 13 year old female elephant, ‘Selendang’.

This year, EXIM Bank goes one step further by adopting the one year old baby Elly and provides her with a prosthetic leg, a new portable paddock for daily mobility exercise and a one-year supply of multivitamins and other supplements. Elly, a 2 year old baby elephant who lost her front lower right foot from a trap laid by illegal hunters was found unconscious at Kg. Sokut Toku, Tanah Merah, Jeli Kelantan. She was then rescued by Terengganu’s Elephant Conservation Centre to receive its early medical treatment before being transferred to NECC for her recovery process.

On hand to launch the adoption program at Kuala Gandah was EXIM Bank’s President/Chief Executive Officer (P/CEO), Puan Norzilah Mohammed witnessed by En. Nasharuddin Othman, Head of Kuala Gandah NECC, followed by a tour around Kuala Gandah NECC and video presentation on the elephants.

Facts about elephants:

Elephants are among the world’s most intelligent, sensitive animals and possess both empathy and self awareness. They live in close family groups that are now being torn apart by increasing number of threats caused by human activities. Their natural habitat and migration routes have been fragmented by development and industrial mono-crops such as palm oil and rubber tree plantations which has destroyed millions of hectares of forest ecosystems.

Elephants are very important to humans and are titled as keystone speciesbecause they create and maintain the ecosystems and make it possible for a myriad of plants and animal species to live in those environments as well. The loss of elephants gravely affects the biodiversity of the environment and causes major habitat chaos. To lose the elephants is to lose an environmental caretaker.

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115 jumbos killed to date


Kota Kinabalu: Some 115 Bornean elephants have been killed between 2010 and this year, and most of these deaths occurred in palm oil plantations or forest reserves in close vicinity to plantations.

Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Assafal Alian said half of these deaths were caused by suspected poisoning or gunshot wounds.

"Despite this, there is no concrete evidence that plantations are to be blamed," he said during the opening of the 1st Sabah Scientific Community Forum, here, recently.

"Paradoxically, neither are they blameless. To address this escalating elephant mortality, as a last resort the State Government is strongly contemplating implementing a strict liability policy in which landowners including plantations will be held accountable for any elephant deaths.

"As elephants and other wildlife species increasingly use the palm oil landscape, there is an urgent and critical need for serious dialogue and engagement with the palm oil industry to better manage human-wildlife conflicts."

He said, a win-win solution must be drawn for wildlife conservation, possibly supported and assisted by the Malaysian palm oil industry and Sabah's wildlife scientific community.

"The State Government is very keen to look for solution and explore opportunities where both wildlife and the palm oil industry can co-exist harmoniously.

"So many questions need to be answered. Answers that must be based on scientific facts.

"Much scientific research has been done and is still being undertaken by a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and scientists based in Sabah," he said.

Unfortunately, he said, these results and best practices formulated by all these researches sometimes are not transmitted well to the policy makers and to the palm oil industry, and therefore not incorporated into land use policy planning and, palm oil management practices which could have better benefited wildlife as a whole.

"Sometimes the scientific community do express conflicting views, further confusing wildlife and palm oil managers on what would be the right thing to do."

Towards this end, he said, the 1st Sabah Scientific Community Forum is timely as it brought together Sabah's scientific community together with some of their counterparts from West Malaysia to come up with clear, workable consensual messages about key questions that are usually asked by the palm oil industry and government policy makers.

"The State Government is prepared to be the bridge that links the scientific community and the industry and foster a stronger collaboration between both parties," he said.

The Sabah Scientific Community Forum was co-organised by Sabah Wildlife Department, Danau Girang Field Centre, Hutan, Project Seratu Aatai and WWF-Malaysia and funded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.

During the forum, participants designed a series of recommendations to mitigate possible results of human-wildlife competition in non-protected forests and agricultural landscape.

The underlying message was to create mosaic landscapes where forests are still found within agricultural lands.

In places where the forest has been completely destroyed, efforts to recreate contiguous corridors of natural forest of at least 50 metres wide along all rivers is needed, as well as setting aside stepping stones or continuous corridors across the landscape to support animals' dispersal.

Results of the brainstorming session will be presented and discussed during an international symposium to be organised here, in early next year, that will gather government officials, agro-based plantation industries and scientists. - Ricardo Unto

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Friday, November 30, 2018

A duty to stop a rampaging War Elephant


KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian defence have declared that they are ready to stop the War Elephants in the AFF Cup semi-finals at Bukit Jalil tomorrow.

And the man that they want to shackle is Thai dangerman Adisak Kraisorn.

Adisak has emerged as the most feared striker in this year’s AFF Cup, having plundered eight goals to lead the scoring chart in the competition.

Centreback Shahrul Saad, who has been a pillar of the Malaysian backline, feels he has forged a solid partnership with Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak.

He believes the Malaysian defenders have what it takes to limit Adisak’s destructive play.

But Shahrul, who skippered Perak to the Malaysia Cup title recently, has warned his teammates not to just focus on Adisak as the other Thai strikers are deadly too.

“So far, our coach (Tan Cheng Hoe) has not said which of us is to specifically mark Adisak,” he said.

“Of course, all of us will keep an eye on him.

“If I am asked to mark Adisak, insya-Allah, I will do my duties to the best of my abilities,” said Shahrul after a training session at the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) field yesterday.

“I also need to keep a close eye on the other Thai players who have good attacking techniques.”

Shahrul has proved that he could form a solid shield with Aidil when they shut out Myanmar 3-0 in a crucial Group A match last Saturday.

The 25-year-old feels that if the duo continue to be consistently unyielding in the Malaysian central defence, the Thais will find it hard to break through.

“Thailand are stronger than Myanmar, and we definitely need to play better.

“We still need to iron out some weaknesses in our team. And most important of all, we need to carry out our coach’s plans well.”

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Govt serious in tackling elephant deaths


KOTA KINABALU: The State Government is serious about tackling the issue of intermittent elephant deaths to protect the elephant population and prevent their extinction.

This is in view of the fact that a total of 116 elephant deaths were recorded between October 2010 and September this year.

Of the figure, 30 elephants have died this year alone. The latest, a female aged between 12 and 15 years, died at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve (Tawau) on October 18.

According to Dr Roza, a veterinarian with the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) who conducted the post-mortem, the elephant died due to a fight with other elephants.

In this regard, a joint meeting was convened between the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, and Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry last week.

Ministers Datuk Christina Liew and Datuk Junz Wong concurred that given the loss of habitat, the 2,000-odd elephants need a “home” so that they will not encroach into oil palm plantations and risk getting snared or shot to death.

Currently, they are concentrated in three areas – Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (MER), Tabin MER and Central Sabah MER in the Danum area. The forests in these elephant habitat are a mix of primary and secondary forests. Elephants eat grasses, roots, fruit and bark. They use their tusks to pull the bark from trees and dig roots out of the ground. An adult elephant can eat 300 pounds (136kg) of food in a day, and drink up to 150-200 litres of water per day.

“Bornean pygmy elephants are a ‘prestige’ breed as they are peculiar to Borneo. We are intensifying our efforts to protect the elephants and prevent their extinction. We have discussed the pressing need to
grow sufficient food for the elephants in their habitat. For a start, we will consider planting vegetation (grasses and shrubs) in the three areas individually before connecting the areas at a later stage of development.

“The aim is to create a sustainable food chain within the three Managed Elephant Ranges, a new corridor of life for the elephants. Such move will avert crop damage in the oil palm plantations and smallholdings.

“In the meantime, we need the cooperation of plantation owners and workers in not causing any harm to the animals but to inform the
relevant authorities (Sabah Wildlife Department) in the event of any
encroachment,” the ministers said in a joint ministerial statement.

Expressing the government’s determination to resolve the human-elephant conflict, Liew, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister,
and Wong stressed that political will is indispensable in this respect.

“A special task force will be set up, comprising officials from the ministries and relevant agencies,” they said.

The SWD has been entrusted with the task of preparing a paper on the proposed Resolution of the Human-Elephant Conflict in Sabah for submission to the State Cabinet. Assistant Director (Bornean Elephants Conservation Unit) Dr Sen Nathan has been asked to prepare the paper.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the joint meeting was in response to the call by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal to the two ministries to collectively address the outstanding problem. It was also attended by Permanent Secretaries Datuk Datu Rosmadi Datu Sulai (Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment) and Dr Mariana Tinggal (Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry), Director of Agriculture, Datuk Idrus Shapie, and Director of Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), Augustine Tuuga, among other senior officials.

It was unanimously agreed that the Sabah Forestry Department be enlisted in the Elephant Protection Cause. Its director will be
invited to attend the next meeting.

Breakdown of the total number of elephant deaths is as follows: 2010
(2), 2011 (6), 2012 (5), 2013 (23), 2014 (6), 2015 (15), 2016 (20),
2017 (9) and 2018 (30).

Number of elephant deaths by district is as follows: Died in captivity (2), Keningau (1), Tawau/Kalabakan (35), Lahad Datu (30),
Kinabatangan (31) and Sandakan/Telupid (17).

Answering Liew’s persistent question on the cause of death of the two elephants in captivity at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park (LWP), Dr Sen said Yapid, a young male adult aged 12 years, seemed to have a problem of congenital disease, resulting in low absorption from the total nutriments consumed on its diet.

“Honestly speaking, Yapid was an elephant that would have needed special dietary and husbandry care.

Which means its care and dietary management should have been given higher priority and care. It is very evident that the general husbandry and veterinary care in LWP has deteriorated to a point where Yapid was not getting this special care. As a result, Yapid would have suffered from chronic malnutrition/starvation and thus eventually death,” he explained.

As for the baby elephant, a two-year-old male, Dr Sen said it died of chronic emaciation (unnatural thinness from loss of flesh due to lack of food).

“Rest assured, changes have been made at the LWP,” he added.

The meeting also discussed the possibility of getting agencies under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry to “adopt” one or two elephants in the interest of their well-being.

Liew suggested that the previous plan of “loaning” an elephant to the Rasa Ria Reserve in Tuaran, be re-visited if possible.

At this juncture, Rosmadi conceded that with the presence of 15 elephants, there is congestion at the LWP.

“Ideally, by international convention, the zoo should have only four to five elephants. So the rest should be in the wild but then there is not enough food,” he said while emphasising the need to relocate 10 elephants to other areas.

Meanwhile, the minister questioned Tuuga over the five-month delay in the completion of renovation works at the LWP. It was supposed to have been completed by the end of September.

Rosmadi said the works will be completed by the end of October.

Before the meeting came to a close, a concerned Idrus brought the
issue of smuggling of plants to the minister’s attention.

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Sabah mulls new 'life corridor' for elephants


Kota Kinabalu: The State Government is contemplating creating a new "corridor of life" linking three known pygmy elephant habitats which will have ample food and thus ensure their survival through minimising conflict with humans.

They are the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (MER), Tabin MER and Central Sabah MER in the Danum area.

The forests in these elephant habitat are a mix of primary and secondary forests. Elephants eat grasses, roots, fruit and bark.

They use their tusks to pull the bark from trees and dig roots out of the ground. An adult elephant can eat 300 pounds (136kg) of food in a day,and drink up to 150-200 litres of water per day.

"For a start, we will consider planting vegetation (grasses and shrubs) in the three areas individually before connecting the areas at a later stage of development.

"The aim is to create a sustainable food chain within the three Managed Elephant Ranges. Such move will avert crop damage in the oil-palm plantations andsmallholdings," a joint meeting involving the two State Ministries concluded.

The Ministries involved are the Ministry of Tourism, Culture Ministers (Datuk Christina Liew) and and Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry (Datuk Junz Wong).

This is in view of 116 elephant deaths recorded between October 2010 and September this year. Of this, 30 elephants died this year alone, the latest, a female aged between 12 and 15 years, died at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve (Tawau) on October 18.

According to Dr Roza, a veterinarian with the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) who conducted the post-mortem, the elephant died due to a fight with other elephants.

It was decided that given the loss of habitat, the 2,000-odd elephants need a "home" so that they will not encroach into oil-palm plantations and risk getting snared or shot to death.

"Bornean pygmy elephants are a 'prestige' breed as they are peculiar to Borneo. We are intensifying our efforts to protect the elephants and prevent their extinction.

"In the meantime, we need the cooperation of plantation owners and workers in not causing any harm to the animals but to inform the relevant authorities (Sabah Wildlife Department) in the event of any encroachment," the Ministers said in a joint statement.

Expressing the Government's determination to resolve the human-elephant conflict, Liew, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister, and Wong stressed that political will is indispensable in this respect.

"A special task force will be set up, comprising officials from the ministries and relevant agencies," they said. The SWD has been entrusted with the task of preparing a paper on the proposed Resolution of the Human-Elephant Conflict in Sabah for submission to the State Cabinet. Assistant Director (Bornean Elephants Conservation Unit) Dr Sen Nathan has been asked to prepare the paper.

The DCM said the joint meeting was in response to the call by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal to the two ministries to collectively address the outstanding problem.

It was unanimously agreed that the Sabah Forestry Department be enlisted in the Elephant Protection Cause. Its Director will be invited to attend the next meeting.

Breakdown of the total number of elephant deaths is as follows : 2010 (2), 2011 (6), 2012 (5), 2013 (23), 2014 (6), 2015 (15), 2016 (20), 2017 (9) and 2018 (30).

Number of elephant deaths by district is as follows : Died in captivity (2), Keningau (1), Tawau/Kalabakan (35), Lahad Datu (30), Kinabatangan (31) and Sandakan/Telupid (17).

The meeting also discussed the possibility of getting agencies under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry to "adopt" one or two elephants in the interest of their well-being. Liew suggested that the previous plan of "loaning" an elephant to the Rasa Ria Reserve in Tuaran, be re-visited if possible.

Rosmadi conceded that with the presence of 15 elephants, there is congestion at the LWP. "Ideally, by international convention, the zoo should have only four to five elephants. So the rest should be in the wild but then there is not enough food," he said while emphasising the need to relocate 10 elephants to other areas.

Meanwhile, the Minister questioned Tuuga over the five-month delay in the completion of renovation works at the LWP. It was supposed to have been completed by the end of September. Rosmadi said the works will be completed by the end of October.

The issue of smuggling of plants was also brought to the Minister's attention.

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Malaysia: Sabah state govt mulls planting food for wild elephants


KOTA KINABALU: The state government is thinking of planting food for elephants in certain protected areas to prevent them from encroaching into plantations.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the move could help to reduce human-elephant conflict and prevent the extinction of the species in Sabah.

“Given the loss of habitat, the remaining 2,000-odd elephants need a home so that they don’t encroach into oil palm plantations and risk getting snared, maimed or killed,” she said in a statement.

Liew, who is also Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said the pygmy elephants are currently concentrated in three areas – Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (MER), Tabin MER and Central Sabah MER in the Danum area.

“The aim is to create a sustainable food chain within the three MERs, a new corridor of life for the elephants and avert crop damage in the oil palm plantations and smallholdings,” she said.

An adult elephant can eat 136kg of food comprising grass, roots, fruits and bark a day, and drink up to 150 to 200 litres of water daily.

“Bornean pygmy elephants are a prestige breed and are endemic.

“We are intensifying our efforts to protect the elephants,” Liew said.

She also urged plantation owners and workers not to harm the elephants but to inform the relevant authorities such as Sabah Wildlife Department in the event of any encroachment.

Records showed that a total of 116 elephant deaths were recorded between October 2010 and Sep­tember this year.

Of the figure, 30 elephants have died this year alone with the latest involving a female, aged between 12 and 15 years, at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve, Tawau, on Oct 18 in a herd fight.

Separately, Sabah Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Junz Wong said political will was needed to solve the problem.

“A special taskforce comprising officials from the ministries and relevant agencies will be set up to look into the plans,” he said.

The Sabah Wildlife Department has been tasked with preparing a paper on the proposed Resolution of the Human-Elephant Conflict in Sabah for submission to the state Cabinet.

Assistant director (Bornean Elephants Conservation Unit) Dr Sen Nathan has been asked to prepare the paper while Sabah Forestry Department has been enlisted in the elephant protection cause.

Sabah mulls growing elephant food in three areas to prevent encroachment
stephanie lee The Star 22 Oct 18;

KOTA KINABALU: The state government is mulling the idea of planting elephant food in certain protected areas to prevent them from encroaching into plantations and risk getting killed.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew, who is also state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said the move could possible reduce human-elephant conflict and hopefully, prevent extinction of the species in Sabah.

“Given the loss of habitat, the 2,000-odd elephants remaining in Sabah need a 'home' so that they will not encroach into oil-palm plantations and risk getting snared or shot to death,” she said in a statement on Monday (Oct 22).

Liew said the pygmy elephants are currently concentrated in three areas - Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (MER), Tabin MER and Central Sabah MER in the Danum area.

“There is a pressing need to grow sufficient food for the elephants in their habitat and for a start, we will consider planting vegetation (grasses and shrubs) in the three areas,” she said.

According to Liew, the three areas would be connected at a later stage of development.

"The aim is to create a sustainable food chain within the three Managed Elephant Ranges, a new corridor of life for the elephants and avert crop damage in the oil-palm plantations and smallholdings,” she said.

An adult elephant can eat 300 pounds (136kg) of food comprising grass, roots, fruits and barks a day, and drink up to 150-200 litres of water daily.

"Bornean pygmy elephants are a 'prestige' breed and are endemic to Borneo. We are intensifying our efforts to protect the elephants and prevent their extinction,” Liew said.

She also called for cooperation of plantation owners and workers in not causing any harm to the animals but to inform the relevant authorities (Sabah Wildlife Department) in the event of any encroachment.

A total of 116 elephant deaths were recorded between October 2010 and September this year.

Of the figure, 30 elephants died this year alone with the latest involving a female aged between 12 and 15 at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Tawau on Oct 18 following a fight with an elephant herd.

The breakdown of the total number of elephant deaths is as follows : 2010 (2), 2011 (6), 2012 (5), 2013 (23), 2014 (6), 2015 (15), 2016 (20), 2017 (9) and 2018 (30).

The number of elephant deaths by district is as follows: Died in
captivity at the Lok kawi wildlife park in Penampang (2), Keningau (1), Tawau/Kalabakan (35), Lahad Datu (30), Kinabatangan (31) and Sandakan/Telupid (17).

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Monday, October 22, 2018

Sabah sets up joint task force to protect elephant population


KOTA KINABALU: A joint task force comprising agencies from two state ministries will be formed to address the alarming rate of elephant deaths in Sabah.

In a joint statement today, Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew and Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong said the government was determined to resolve the human-elephant conflict.

Measures were needed to protect the elephant population and prevent their extinction, they said.

“A special task force will be set up, comprising officials from the ministries and relevant agencies,” they said, adding that the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) had been tasked with preparing a paper on the proposed solution to the human-elephant conflict in Sabah.

This paper, to be prepared by SWD assistant director Dr Sen Nathan, would be submitted to the state Cabinet for consideration.

Liew said the joint meeting was in response to the call by Chief Minister Shafie Apdal to the two ministries to collectively address the problem.

A total of 116 elephants have died between October 2010 and September this year. In that period, 2018 recorded the highest number of deaths with 30 cases detected so far.

The deaths are due to snare traps, lack of food and diseases, among others.

In the latest case, a female elephant, aged between 12 and 15 years old, died at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Tawau on Oct 18. The SWD said the elephant died from injuries sustained in a fight with other elephants.

Most of the deaths were recorded in the east coast districts, namely Tawau/Kalabakan, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan and Sandakan/Telupid.

Liew and Wong said that given the loss of their natural habitat, the 2,000-odd elephants needed a home so that they would not encroach into oil-palm plantations and risk getting snared or shot to death.

Currently, the elephants are concentrated in the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (MER), Tabin MER and Central Sabah MER in the Danum area.

Liew and Wong also urged plantation owners and workers not to harm the animals that have encroached onto their land.

Instead, they should inform the authorities such as the SWD so that appropriate action could be taken.

Meanwhile, the tourism, culture and environment ministry’s permanent secretary Datu Rosmadi Sulai said the presence of 15 elephants at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park near here was not ideal.

“Ideally, by international convention, the zoo should have only four to five elephants. So the rest should be in the wild but then there is not enough food,” he said, emphasising the need to relocate 10 elephants to other areas.

When asked by Liew the reason for the five-month delay to complete the renovation work at the wildlife park, Rosmadi said the work would be done by the end of this month.

An NGO, Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia (Foto), had called on Liew last June to address the deplorable conditions endured by the animals at the wildlife park, located about 30 minutes drive from here.

Its director Upreshpal Singh said the organisation received several photos showing the elephants at the park were kept in chains while cages for sun bears and pythons were littered with faeces on the floor.

The NGO also claimed the tigers in the park were kept in tiny enclosures.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Elephant killed in fight with herd


KOTA KINABALU: Another elephant has been found dead in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Tawau.

In a statement yesterday, Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) public relations officer Siti Nur’ain Ampuan Acheh said that there is a possibility that the elephant was killed in a fight with an elephant herd.

Its carcass was discovered by an officer of Rakyat Berjaya Sdn Bhd and SWD was informed thereafter, said Siti.

“The next day, a team comprising of an investigating officer, a veterinarian officer and staff from the Sabah Wildlife Department went to the site to investigate and conduct a post-mortem,” she said.

She added that based on the physical condition of the elephant, they believed that it had been dead for more than five days.

“It is a female estimated to be about 12 to 15 year of age with a height of about six feet high,” she said.

She also said that a physical examination of the carcass found no bullet wounds or injuries. Metal detectors were also used, and no metal objects were detected on the body.

However, post-mortem examination found cracks on the temporal part of the elephant’s skull, she said.

The left jugal bone was also disjointed from the main skull; while the frontal and nasal bone were found to have deepened cracks suggesting possible head-on trauma, she said.

“The severe head trauma might have caused neurological damage and severe bleeding in the head which led to the elephant’s death.

There is a high possibility that a fight within the elephant herd was the cause of the death.

Workers working in the area reported seeing about 40 elephants in the surrounding area prior to the discovery of the carcass,” she said.

SWD director Augustine Tuuga, when contacted on the possibility of translocating all the elephants to the lost world in Lahad Datu to stop more elephants from dying, answered that elephant fights do occur and the elephants were already at their natural habitat.

“Where else to move them?” he asked.

He also said that even if the elephants were to be translocated, they would find their way back to their place of origin.

He confirmed that this was the 27th elephant found dead this year.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Malaysia has to go all out to fight wildlife crime, as trafficking goes global


Wildlife trafficking is thought to be the most profitable illicit trade in the world, after drugs, weapons and human trafficking. In Malaysia, the local media often display images of seized pangolins, ivory, rhino horn, tiger parts and testudines with headlines hailing the success of the local authorities. The sheer quantity of wildlife products seized not only in Malaysia, but also those seized in transit or re-exported from Malaysia is alarming (“Critically endangered pangolins die after rescue from smuggling ring”, August 7).

Discussions about combating wildlife trafficking have focused mainly on elephants, rhinos and tigers in Africa and Asia. But wildlife trafficking occurs across all continents and threatens a wide range of imperiled species including coral, sea turtles, caimans, iguanas, pangolins and exotic birds.

Illegal wildlife products are moved through countries and across borders and sold both openly and covertly. Much of the trade goes undetected and it is difficult to ascertain the enormous quantity of illicit wildlife shipped and sold internationally. In some cases, wildlife is hidden and passed through checkpoints unknown to officials, or is accompanied by false documentation. Customs officials may also turn a blind eye, give tip-offs, or help conceal illegal wildlife in exchange for bribes or other benefits.

The passage of illegal wildlife through checkpoints and borders may reflect a lack of capacity or training or the low priority given to preventing wildlife crime. The transport and logistics sector plays a critical role in identifying and eliminating these risks along the supply chain. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, an agreement that seeks to regulate international wildlife trade, has proved to be ineffective – as enforcement is lacking in many countries. This means that the slaughter of endangered species for profit continues unabated.

Globalisation has created more opportunities for concealed transactions, especially when agencies charged with protecting wildlife are under-resourced and poorly supervised.

Malaysia is one of the top 10 hubs of wildlife smuggling, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore are also on the list. Internet sales to foreigners also contribute to the illegal trade. Legislation, enforcement and sentencing are clearly ineffective and need to be readdressed.

It is time for Malaysia to address wildlife crime in the region through a joint effort across government agencies and institutions. Fighting wildlife crime has to be given regional, national, and global priority and the support of organisations like the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Interpol and World Customs Organisation is crucial to the success of such efforts.

S M Mohd Idris, president, Friends of the Earth Malaysia, Penang

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Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Campaign to bring palliative care issue out into the open


KUALA LUMPUR: Hospice Malaysia has initiated a campaign to support families who have a loved one suffering from a serious illness.

The “Speak Up – There’s an Elephant in the Room” campaign was launched by Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh to encourage conversations about the issue.

Yeoh said Malaysia was an ageing country, and by 2030, 51.3% would be aged 60 and above.

In her speech, she praised Hospice Malaysia for its effort and pledged her support by contributing RM10,000 towards the campaign.

Yeoh said hospices would help patients and their loved ones discuss the issue openly.

Separately, she also said Malaysians continued to have the “not in my backyard syndrome” in relation to building new taska (kindergartens) and nursing homes at housing areas.

She said people should think and act for the whole community and start talking about these issues.

Hospice Malaysia chairman Datin Kathleen Chew said people should not fear but talk about the end of life.

“Less than 10% of the 56,000 Malaysians who require palliative care have access to it.

“The elephant in the room is too big to ignore.

“I hope this campaign will raise awareness among the public and we will have greater mobilisation of resources to integrate palliative care into the nation’s healthcare system so that it will be accessible to all in need one day,” Chew added.

In conjunction with this campaign, 10 life-sized baby elephant sculptures are placed at the KLCC Park Esplanade until Oct 14, from 10am to 10pm.

The public are encouraged to take pictures with the elephants and post them with #speakupforpalliativecare and share it on social media.

The Cik Gajah Limited Edition series have been created from sketches by artist Yusof Ismail, who is fondly known as Yusof Gajah, to draw attention to the issue.

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Malaysia: Poachers running rampant in Pahang's forests to kill elephants just for their tusks


KUANTAN: Lying on the ground is the carcass of an adult elephant with its head badly mutilated and bearing gunshot wounds while its tusks were hacked-off by poachers.

That is the stunning discovery made by Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) rangers near a forest reserve here late last year raising concerns about poaching syndicates making inroads into the state to gun-down the mammals for their tusks.

Fetching USD2,000 (RM8,100) a kilogram abroad, the ivory trade is widely considered as the most lucrative business making the elephants a prime target for poachers.

Forest clearing activities have exposed Pahang with an estimated population of between 300 and 400 Asian elephants to be among the target for the well-organised syndicates who are believed to have established links with a bigger poaching racket operating in neighbouring countries and around the region.

Among the hotspots identified as a favourite among elephant poachers here is the Endau Rompin National Park, Lesung reserve forest, Selancar, Cenderawasih, Bukit Ibam, Chemomoi, Kemasul, Jelai reserve forest, Kenong, Kechau, Som, Tekai, Bekelah, Ulu Lepar, Sungai Lembing and Bukit Sagu.

State Perhilitan director Ahmad Azhar Mohamed said the death of the adult male elephant last year was an eye-opener as the syndicates have began targeting the endangered pachyderm in the state which is covered with dense tropical forest.

He said investigations revealed, poachers armed with a gun will kill the elephant before using a chain saw to brutally cut off the tusks and leave the carcass to rot.

Ahmad Azhar said forest clearing activities has forced the mammals to find new areas as sources of food especially near settlements, which expose them to human-elephant conflict and a target for poachers.

“It makes it easier for poachers especially when the forest has access including logging trails...they might leave their vehicles near the forest perimeter and use a motorcycle to reach far into the jungle as they only bring along a gun and saw.

“Killing an elephant often happens by chance as the poachers might study the animals behavior and surrounding areas before striking.The target might be a lone adult elephant which may have strayed out of forests, its group or ventured a little too far in search of food,” he told NSTP.

He said the department also learnt that the poachers have hired “tonto” to keep a watch for the presence of Perhilitan enforcement officers and also provide details if they spotted elephants roaming in their settlements.

Meanwhile Ahmad Azhar said the poaching syndicates might have a wide network around the country including abroad and they are connected to the recent arrest in several other locations over the past few years.

“We are conducting investigations and it could be a matter of time before we track down the culprits. In 2017, a gang were arrested in Kelantan before another syndicate was caught in Perak early this year.

“They are certainly notorious and heavily armed prepared to brutally kill the animals just for the tusks. We have not noticed any other organs missing from the carcass found in Pahang,” he said.

He said the poachers mainly target elephants but are prepared to kill other endangered animals that comes their way as their aim is to only earn lucrative returns from selling the wildlife.

The tusks, which can fetch thousands of dollars overseas, could fetch between RM500 and RM2,000 a kilogramme on the black market locally.

Those charged under Section 68 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716) for hunting or killing protected wildlife can be fined RM100,000 or jailed up to three years.

Rise in local elephant poaching rings alarm bells nationwide

AMIN RIDZUAN ISHAK, TN Alagesh New Straits Times 31 Aug 18;

KUANTAN: When it was reported that Malaysia has emerged as a major transit point for African ivory, many were shocked.

But the recent killings of elephants in the country have taken many by surprise.

A former Perhilitan ranger said that elephant poaching in Malaysia was almost unheard of in the past, but the significant price for Asian elephant ivory tusks has prompted some to engage in the illicit and immoral activity.

He said that although reported cases of poaching are rare, it remains unknown how syndicates operate and the precise locations of their activities in Peninsular and East Malaysia.

“(These people) are certainly not amateurs. They know their job and (who to sell the tusks to). It is not every week that you can find an elephant with tusks and kill it easily.... it only happens by chance.

“In the past, elephants were butchered in certain African countries and the tusks were smuggled into Asia, where they were turned into carved ornamental ivories.

“Malaysia has no domestic industry for ivory products, so the tusks (of Malaysian elephants) are sent abroad,” he said.

“Malaysia has no domestic industry for ivory products, so the tusks (of Malaysian elephants) are sent abroad.” Pix courtesy of Perhilitan

Meanwhile, state Perhilitan director Ahmad Azhar Mohamed urged the public to play a more significant role in helping to combat elephant poaching by providing tip-offs to Perhilitan.

“People must realise that when an elephant leaves a forest, it means that the mammal is facing a conflict, and poachers would often target the elephant. Do not wait until the elephant reaches a village to inform us.

“Please immediately alert us in case you spot elephants near plantations, as we will send our rangers to do the necessary. The Orang Asli community and various non-governmental organisations are also cooperating with us to ensure the elephants always remain in their habitat,” he said.

About elephants:

• All African elephants, both male and female, have tusks, whereas only some Asian males have tusks.

• Asian elephant tusks are named “gading jantung” and “gading rotan.”

• Gading jantung is solid and measures about 1m long, while gading rotan is hollow, measuring some 1.5m long

• Asian elephant tusks weigh between 10 and 15kg

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Jumbo dies from wounds despite rescue

Kota Kinabalu: Yet another elephant death occurred in the State - barely after being rescued last week
Sabah Wildlife Department Public Relations Officer Siti Nur Ain Ampuan Acheh said unfortunately the male elephant succumbed to injuries a day after being translocated to the Borneon Elephant Sanctuary ( BES), where he was expected to undergo further treatment for his wound caused by a snare trap.

"The animal was found very weak on Sunday morning, being unable to stand up.

Despite hours of emergency treatment, the animal could not be saved and was confirmed dead at 3pm on the same day.

"A post mortem has been conducted and the cause of death is due to multiple organ failure caused by septicaemia which resulted from the critically deep snare trap wound that was suspected to be more than five weeks old."

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https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/08/401159/dead-baby-elephant-found-floating-kinabatangan-river


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s wildlife scene took another hit when a baby elephant was found dead and another injured by snare trap in two separate incidents, yesterday evening.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew in revealing this today, said the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) had sent their teams to the ground upon receiving the information.

Cause of death for the young elephant, believed to be around two years old, has yet to be ascertained but no physical injuries were evident, added SWD director Augustine Tuuga during a press conference at the sidelines of the state assembly sitting, here.

“For the first case, a report was received of a male elephant suffering injury on the front leg due to a snare trap near Taliwas, Lahad Datu," Augustine said.

He informed that the information was received late in the the evening yesterday and the department's veterinary team was not able to make it there last night.

“But this morning we despatched them and now they should be there to treat the injury.

“We also received information yesterday of a young elephant found floating at Kinabatangan river in Sukau (by a tour boat) and the body has been secured by the riverbank," he said.

A team was sent to conduct a post-mortem, Augustine said, adding that preliminary checks found no visible physical injuries.

Meanwhile, Liew who is Deputy Chief Minister said they will wait for the post-mortem to learn the cause of death and a statement would be issued once there was more information.

On a separate matter during the press conference, Liew said they were confident of meeting the set target of 3.85 million total arrivals into Sabah this year.

This is supported by more charter flights as well as direct international flights coming to Kota Kinabalu, she added.

As of June this year, arrivals were recorded at 1.891 million which was an increase of 5.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister cum State Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong in a separate press conference, said his ministry was currently embarking on a roadshow statewide to address imbalanced development.

He said efforts to streamline development planning would ensure tourism hotspots like Ranau and Kundasang have efficient facilities like organised residential areas and markets.

On another question, he said the level of cleanliness would also be addressed.

“Besides restructuring the development plannings, we want to improve the image of local authorities,” he added.

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Malaysia seizes rhino horns worth $12M in largest such haul


Malaysia has seized nearly US$12 million worth of rhinoceros horns bound for Vietnam in its largest haul of such contraband, officials said on Monday.

Wildlife experts say Malaysia is a major transit point for the illegal trafficking of endangered species to other Asian countries.

Officials acting on a tip seized 50 horns weighing about 116 kilograms at the cargo terminal of Kuala Lumpur airport on Aug. 13, a wildlife official said in a statement.

The shipment also included nine carcasses of what are believed to be tigers and bears, weighing about 200 kilograms.

“All the wildlife items confiscated were to be exported out of Malaysia without a proper permit,” Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim, the director-general of the Wildlife and National Parks Department, said in the statement.

The department will run DNA tests to identify each wildlife species involved, he added.

The shipment, valued at 48 million ringgit ($11.7 million), was bound for Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.

Investigations showed the consignment had been shipped with false documents and efforts were being made to identify its true owner, Abdul Kadir said.

TRAFFIC, a group which monitors the illegal wildlife trade, said the case highlighted links between Malaysia and Vietnam, which are both located in Southeast Asia.

“This was a very unusual mix of wildlife parts found — rhino horns which were clearly not from Asia and carnivore carcasses which could have originated from the country,” TRAFFIC’s acting Southeast Asia director Kanitha Krishnasamy said in a statement.

“This discovery raises questions about how criminals are accumulating wildlife parts and using a multitude of routes and methods to traffic them onwards to destination countries.”

Global trade in rhino horn is banned by a United Nations convention, but it is prized in some Asian countries as an ingredient in traditional medicines to treat everything from fevers to cancer.

Last year, Malaysia seized about $3.1 million worth of rhino horns flown in from Mozambique via Qatar.

Separately, authorities arrested a man on July 13 for illegal possession of three baby Sumatran orangutans, Abdul Kadir said.

“The suspect was believed to have been trading wildlife online and was arrested while dealing with a buyer,” he said.

Malaysia will return the orangutans to Indonesia, he said.

Orangutans live in lowland forests on Borneo, an island shared by Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

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No info on those behind jumbo deaths despite reward


TELUPID: Despite the reward of RM120,000, no one has come forth with any information on the culprits who caused the deaths of 25 Borneo pygmy elephants in the state this year.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said the reward has been around for the past five years.

“Investigation into the deaths of the 14 elephants in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve (in 2013) is still not closed.

“We also offered RM20,000 on the killing of the elephant with ‘sabre’ tusks (in 2017) but nobody came forward,” he said.

The bulk of the 25 deaths were discovered in the past four months.

The causes of the deaths ranged from gunshot injuries to wounds incurred from traps set up by hunters and other unknown causes.

Elephants that are injured by trapping devices will develop infections before they die.

WWF Malaysia said that snares are commonly used by poachers along animal trails in forest reserves bordering plantations with the intention of catching wild boars and deer. Though elephants are very rarely the target of poachers, they commonly fall victim to these devices as they use the same trails as other wildlife.

In the latest case, a female elephant was found dead at Ladang Bintang Emas Property Sdn Bhd in Tongod here on Saturday.

SWD public relations officer Siti Nur’ain Ampuan Acheh said the case was reported to the department by the Tongod district forest officer.

“SWD despatched a team of rangers and veterinary officer to investigate and conduct post-mortem on the animal on Monday.

“The carcass was mildly decomposing. It is believed to have died about a week earlier,” she said.

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http://www.theborneopost.com/2018/08/29/more-elephants-killed-by-snares-wwf/


KOTA KINABALU: Despite actions taken by the enforcement authorities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to end the continuous elephant deaths in Sabah, the fact of the matter is that more and more elephants are dying on our watch.

Just last week, WWF-Malaysia said there was yet another elephant death, this time due to a severe snare wound that led to septicaemia and eventually multiple organ failures.

The death of this jumbo joins at least 25 other elephant deaths since the beginning of this year.

WWF-Malaysia said even more worrisome than the number of elephant deaths are the number of elephants that have died due to strategically placed snare traps within their habitat.

In the past two months, WWF-Malaysia four elephants have died due to snare related injuries. These were all male elephants aged between one to nine years old. All four elephants were found at plantations surrounding the Sg Taliwas Forest Reserve and Sapagaya Forest Reserve.

According to WWF-Malaysia in a statement yesterday, snares are commonly used by poachers, where they are placed along animal trails in forest reserves bordering plantations with the intention of catching wild boars and deer.

Though elephants are very rarely the target of poachers, they commonly fall victim to these devices. This is because elephants use the same trails as other wildlife causing them to become a product of bycatch since snares indiscriminately kill wildlife.

If not treated early, snare wounds causes a slow and painful death for the animal as they lead to severe infection.

WWF-Malaysia together with the Sabah Forestry Department and the Sabah Wildlife Department have continuously worked together to conduct joint anti-snaring operations (Ops Jerat) to remove snares in the forest reserves that are bordering plantations.

As of now, five operations have been carried out and through these operations, 25 snares were found in forest reserves. Sixteen hunting platforms were also discovered in both forest reserves and surrounding plantations, and five pitfall traps that measured about seven feet deep were found in these plantations.

WWF-Malaysia said it will continue its Ops Jerat in collaboration with the government particularly in identified poaching hot spots.

Currently, the Sabah Wildlife Department is investigating known suspects and has raided their quarters in search for incriminating evidences.

The organisation added it had previously called for the amendment of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 to include a strict liability provision for private landowners to be held accountable and would have to prove their innocence should a death of an elephant occur on their land or evidence of illegal activities such as snares, hunting platforms and pitfall traps are found in their area. Through this provision, the burden of proof will be reversed, which would mean that it no longer lies with the prosecutors.

It reiterates its call for the amendment and strongly urges the government to look into the matter urgently. It recognises that this provision has several loopholes that needs to be addressed before it can be implemented.

With this in mind, WWF-Malaysia is open to working together with the government to address them. The organisation suggests holding stakeholder consultations with plantations first in order to allow them to voice their concerns and also provide their recommendations.

WWF-Malaysia said the time has come for someone to shoulder the responsibility for the death of elephants, especially those occurring on their land.

In order to stop the premature deaths of one of Borneo’s most iconic species, it said strong actions must be taken and they must be taken now. Plantations cannot afford to ignore poaching activities that happen within their land or the land surrounding them simply because they are not participatory to it.

Under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, the Borneo elephants are totally protected species, where the harming or killing of elephant, whether intentional or otherwise, is punishable by law.

WWF-Malaysia urges plantations to play an active part alongside the government and NGOs in the conservation of elephants in Sabah. Plantation owners and workers can play a significant role by being more vigilant and reporting any suspicious activities to the Sabah Forestry Department and Sabah Wildlife Department.

“The truth of the matter is that elephants will use plantation landscapes and therefore plantations need to accept that they have to coexist with these animals. If we are not careful, within our lifetime, we could see the complete loss of Borneo elephants in Sabah,” added the organisation.

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Female pygmy elephant shot dead in Tongod


KOTA KINABALU: A female Borneo pygmy elephant was shot dead at a plantation in Tongod, recently.

The carcass of the elephant, aged between 12 and 15, was discovered at Ladang Bintang Emas Property Sdn Bhd on Aug 25.

Sabah Wildlife Department public relations officer Siti Nur’ain Ampuan Acheh said today that a team of rangers and veterinary officer were despatched to the site after they were alerted by the Tongod district forestry officer.

“The team investigated and conducted a post-mortem on the elephant on Aug 27,” she said.

“It was estimated that it died about a week earlier.”

Siti said there was a round-shaped wound in the middle of the elephant’s temple area, which had penetrated into its skull.

“The right temporal part of the skull was found to have severe bleeding and debris from the impact, most probably from a gunshot. No bullets were found on the body.

“Death of the elephant is highly probably due to neurological damage caused to the brain.”

Prior to the latest death, four Borneo Pygmy elephants were found dead in Sabah’s east coast.

It was reported that a cow and its calf were shot by poachers. Another elephant died after a tree fell on it, while the fourth was found dead with unknown causes.

A total of 25 elephant deaths have been reported this year. State wildlife director Augustine Tuuga saying all toxicology tests were done locally.

“The results are usually not conclusive (but there is) negative result to most known poisons and also bacteria or viruses,” he said.

On the department’s efforts to catch culprits responsible for killing the elephants, including using poison and snare traps, Tuuga said it would not be easy.

“It’s difficult to detect them and no witnesses have come forward to give information even when we have offer a RM120,000 reward,” he said, stressing that the reward was still on offer.

The RM120,000 reward was first offered five years ago to facilitate the department’s investigations into the deaths of 14 elephants in the Gunung Rara forest reserve.

Tuuga said the department had also offered RM20,000 for information on the killing of a sabre elephant, adding that nobody had come forward.

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Sabah CM orders all-out effort to stop ‘disturbing’ elephant deaths


KOTA KINABALU, Aug 30 — Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has ordered fresh initiatives to put an end to the unprecedented number of elephant deaths in the state recently.

Pointing out that he was “shocked and stunned” by the deaths, Shafie said action should include “all-out effort” by the relevant agencies to engage locals in human-elephant conflict zones and educate them on tackling wildlife intrusion with conservation in mind.

“I am indeed disturbed by the sudden spike in Bornean elephant deaths in Sabah,” he said in a statement.

“I have ordered two state ministers — Tourism, Culture, Environment Minister Christina Liew Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong — to hold special meetings with plantation owners in known elephant habitats so they can engage their workers to help with the fight against poaching and killing in their areas,” he said.

Shafie also called for cooperation from plantation workers and owners to remove snare traps found on their land.

“The plantation workers have shown that they are responsible when they have reported unusual activities like stray baby elephants or snared elephants. As people who are constantly on the ground, they would be the most effective in rooting out these criminal elements that seek to gain from illegal activities,” he said.

Shafie also called for the Sabah Wildlife Department to make their hotline number available to those living in human-elephant conflict zones to enable quicker action to stop possible conflicts.

He added he was aware of the need to form wildlife corridors to link fragmented forests and said he hoped non-governmental organisations could help fast-track this effort with the state government’s facilitation.

The state is currently under global conservationists’ radar following the reported death of 25 rare Borneo pygmy elephants this year alone.

Four elephants were found dead last weekend, including a mother and calf on plantation land, with two of them with gunshot wounds.

The causes of death for all 25 range from gunshot injuries to wounds, toxic substances and “unknown diseases”.

Shafie said that although he understood the plight of farmers and planters, who have to protect their crops on their land, they had “no right to kill these assets of ours.”

“Elephants in Sabah are totally protected by the law. It is a crime to hurt or kill them. Enforcement agencies cannot cover the ground that is needed to expose these criminal elements in our society,” he said, adding that he hopes Sabahans will serve as the eyes and ears for the protection of elephants.

“The human-wildlife conflict cannot be an excuse to kill, snare or poison these animals that are fully protected under the law as the state government wants to ensure that these animals are conserved so we and future generations can continue to enjoy Bornean elephants in the wild.”

The chief minister said Sabah’s wildlife, including the elephants, orangutans and proboscis monkeys, were part of the state’s rich heritage and an important tourism revenue earner with huge economic spin-offs for rural Sabah.

“Sadly, the wildlife, in particular the Bornean pygmy elephant, is dwindling at a rapid pace if the deaths this year alone are an indication of things to come,” he said, adding that the mere 1,500 to 2,500 elephants left in the wild could be extinct in a few decades.

“This effort to conserve cannot be left in the hands of the government and NGOs, the people –farmers, villagers, and plantation owners and their workers — have to cooperate in the fight against the problem with wildlife poaching.”

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https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/08/30/landowners-made-liable-for-elephant-deaths-in-sabah/


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is making landowners responsible for deaths of wildlife, especially elephants, on their properties.

Effective immediately, Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew said the state government will implement a strict liability policy in which landowners will be deemed responsible for the deaths.

She said the rule will also apply to all forest reserves and concessions belonging to Sabah government, such as Sabah Foundation timber concessions as well as smallholders.

She ordered all plantation owners and landowners where wildlife roam to remove all snare traps from their lands immediately or face the consequences.

“We have no choice now but to do this. Some people think that because elephants died on government land, then no action will be taken.

“But from now on, this is not so. This human-elephant conflict has been going on long enough and now it is getting worse.

“It leaves us little choice but to put our foot down,” she said.

Yesterday, the Sabah Wildlife Department reported that 25 elephants have died since January this year, the highest number of deaths it has recorded so far.

The latest was the death of a female elephant in Tongod on Saturday. Wildlife officers believe a baby elephant was also killed at the scene but the carcass was taken away for some reason.

Liew said the Sabah government had decided to hire a foreign expert on elephant protection and conservation to assist the state in solving the increasing problem of elephant deaths.

She said the foreign expert, from Oregon Zoo in the United States, would be part of an advisory council to help ensure better protection of wildlife and manage human-wildlife conflict.

“Once that is done, we will set up a special unit to act on the advice of the council. It is hoped this council will be able to tell us what exactly is the problem that has caused our elephants to die,” she said.

Liew, who is also the state tourism, culture and environment minister, said she had a meeting with the ministry’s permanent secretary and they have decided to invoke Section 33 of the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment.

Under Section 33 of the enactment, any person who commits an offence listed under the law shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine of between RM20,000 and RM100,000 or to imprisonment for a term between six months and five years, or to both.

Under the clause, the director of the Sabah Wildlife Department is given the power to prosecute those found guilty of killing or possessing wildlife without licence.

“We are desperate now because even though we have put up RM120,000 for information and witnesses, nobody has taken up the offer.

“These senseless killings must stop,” she said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shafie Apdal said all the relevant agencies must work together with people living in conflict zones and educate them in tackling problems of elephant intrusion in villages, farms and plantations.

He said he had ordered two state ministers, Liew and Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong, to hold meetings with plantation owners in known elephant habitats.

He said these owners or managements must engage their workers to get them to help in the fight against poaching and killings in their areas.

“The plantation workers have shown they are responsible as they have reported unusual activities like stray baby elephants or snared elephants.

“Plantation owners and farmers should also make the effort to remove snare traps placed in their areas by poachers.”

He said elephants in Sabah are totally protected by the law and it is a crime to hurt or kill them.

He urged the people of Sabah to be vigilant and lend their eyes and ears to protect the elephants.

Shafie said although he understands the plight of farmers and planters as they have to protect their land against wildlife foraging in their farms, they had no right to kill them.

“I am aware of the need for forest corridors to link fragmented forests in the east coast of Sabah. I hope we can fast-track this with the help of NGOs.

“I am told that there are only 1,500 to 2,500 elephants left in the wild and they could go extinct in a few decades.”

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Malaysia investigates the deaths of dozens of rare Rare Elephants in Sabah


- Authorities of Malaysia are investigating the deaths of dozens of pygmy elephants belonging to rare and protected species in the Borneo forest.Some of the stunted elephants were found dead with gunshot wounds to their bodies.

Mentioned by the Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Augustine Tuuga, to Thursday (08/30/2018), that at least 25 dwarf elephants died in the territory of Sabah , Borneo this year.

"This is the highest number recorded so far," said Augustine referring to the number of dwarf elephant deaths every year.

Added Augustine that more than 100 other dwarf elephants died in Sabah in the last eight years.The WWF conservation group estimates that only 1 500 remaining dwarf elephants remain.

Pygmy elephants who have faces like baby elephants, have big ears and long tails that hang.Pygmy elephants can be found in Borneo or Kalimantan, which is divided into three countries, namely Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam.

Habitat loss is the biggest threat to the survival of dwarf elephants.The rise of deforestation and the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations have contributed to the declining population of dwarf elephants.

Not a few dwarf elephants die in the hands of hunters or get caught in traps that are intentionally installed to catch them.

Local authorities have not been able to find the exact cause of the high number of dwarf elephant deaths this year.But Augustine said most dwarf elephants were outside the forest and more often inside the plantation area.

The latest death of dwarf elephants in Sabah occurred on Saturday (25/8) local time.At that time, wildlife authority officials found the carcass of a female dwarf elephant that had rotted inside the local plantation area.The dwarf elephant had a gunshot scar on its temples.

Before that, two other dwarf elephants were reported dead as a result of being shot and several others died from injuries sustained after being caught in a trap.

According to Augustine, it is not easy to arrest and try the killers of these dwarf elephants.Especially because of the remote location and lack of information and eyewitness information.Augustine said that there were absolutely no witnesses who appeared despite the stipulated reward of 120 thousand Ringgit (Rp. 427 million).

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Another elephant dies in Sabah, making it 26th case reported in the state this year


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah recorded its 26th elephant death for this year as a juvenile male succumbed to snare trap injuries while undergoing treatment at Borneon Elephant Sanctuary in Kinabatangan this morning.

State Wildlife Department spokesman Siti Nur’ain Ampuan Acheh said the juvenile male elephant, aged about 5, was rescued at Ulu Segama Forest Reserve in Lahad Datu on Tuesday.

“A team consisted of a veterinarian and wildlife rangers was dispatched to the location to rescue the injured elephant.

“They managed to capture the elephant and initiated treatment,” she said in a statement, adding the elephant was weak and had suffered a severe and deep wound which already reached the bone of left front leg.

She added further treatment was supposed to be done at the sanctuary but it did not respond well to the treatment and died at 8.40am this morning.

“Post mortem was conducted to determine the cause of death.

“Findings revealed that the elephant died due to septicemia which originated from the severe snare trap injury.”

On Thursday, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal had ordered the state Tourism, Culture, Environment Minister Christina Liew and Agriculture and Food Industry Junz Wong to hold special meetings with plantation owners on the issue.

The initiative is to engage plantation workers to help with the fight against poaching and killing in their areas.

Liew had said a special unit will be formed when experts from the United States arrive to address elephants poaching and killing issues in Sabah.

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Elephant injured by snare trap dies


KOTA KINABALU: A five-year-old male juvenile elephant which was rescued at Ulu Segama Forest Reseve, Lahad Datu on August 28 after it was reported to have been injured by a snare trap on its left front leg, passed away yesterday.

Sabah Wildlife Department public relations officer Siti Nur’ain Ampuan Acheh yesterday said a veterinarian and wildlife rangers were dispatched to the location to rescue the injured elephant.

“They managed to capture the elephant and initiated treatment. It was found to have suffered a severe and deep wound which already reached to the bone. The elephant also had a very poor body condition and weak,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Further treatment was supposed to be done at the Bornean Elephant Sanctuary in Kinabatangan. Unfortunately it did not respond well to the treatment and died while being transported to the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary at 8.40am yesterday.

A post-mortem was conducted to determine the cause of death and findings revealed that the elephant died due to septicemia which originated from the severe snare trap injury, she added.

The number of elephants killed by snare traps has increased in Sabah, raising the concern of the state government and WWF-Malaysia.

Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew on Saturday advised all owners to remove animal snare traps on their lands and plantations in Sabah.

She said snare traps were one of the main reasons behind deaths of elephants, which suffered up to weeks before succumbing to injuries caused by them.

Liew, who also Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, stressed this should be done straight away with an immediate invocation of Section 33 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, announced on August 30.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Hj Apdal has alsoordered fresh initiatives to stop the Bornean elephant deaths.

He said these initiatives should include an all-out effort by all the relevant agencies to work together with people living in human-elephant conflict zones by way of educating them in tackling problems of elephant intrusion in villages, farms and plantations.

Sabah Wildlife director Augustine Tuuga has revealed that 25 Borneo pygmy elephants were found dead this year, either shot or snared in traps in jungles and plantations in the state.

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Malaysia: Villager trampled to death by wild elephant in Kedah


ALOR SETAR: A wild elephant is believed to have trampled a villager to death near a forest reserve in Padang Sanai near here on Friday afternoon (Sept 7).

The incident occurred at about 4pm but the exact location is still unconfirmed.

The body of the man, whose ethnicity is unknown, was found by his relatives who rushed him to Kuala Nerang Hospital, some 50km from Alor Setar, where he was pronounced dead.

His family members lodged a police report at the Padang Terap district police headquarters.

It is believed that human encroachment into the forest reserve by illegal plantation had provoked the elephants roaming within.

A police source confirmed the report.

Wild jumbos spotted where man was trampled to death g.c. tan The Star 9 Sep 18;

ALOR SETAR: At least three wild elephants were seen roaming the forest reserve in Padang Sanai, where a rubber tapper was trampled to death.

However, only one animal was involved in the death of Mat Juhid Osman (pic), 49, who died at the scene about 50km from here.

The victim’s brother Husin Osman, 53, they were about leave their fruit orchard when the elephant suddenly dashed out and attacked them.

“I managed to hide behind a tree, but my brother was a little late and was trampled by the elephant, the size of a Pajero four-wheel drive.

He said the incident happened at about 6.30pm on Friday, when he and his brother were tending to fruit trees in their orchard, about 5km from their house in Kampung Ulu, Padang Sanai.

Husin said they had planted some fruit tree saplings earlier in the morning and left for Friday prayers before returning to the orchard at about 3pm.

He said he had lodged numerous reports in the past about wild elephants in the area with the state Wildlife Depart­ment.

“But the officers merely came to see and left. Now, I have lost my brother,” he said.

Padang Terap district police chief Deputy Supt Noh Idris said the hospital alerted the police after the brother of the deceased sent him to the Kuala Nerang Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

“The deceased sustained head injuries and fractured one of his hand.

“His body will be sent to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar for post-mortem,” he said.

There have been wild elephant sightings at the Padang Sanai forest reserve near Ahning Dam in the Padang Terap district recently.

Villagers had lodged reports with the Wildlife Department.

It is believed that human encroachment could have provoked the elephants there.

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Man dies after elephant attack in Malaysia

ALOR SETAR, Kedah: A man died on Friday afternoon (Sep 7) after he was believed to have been stepped on by an elephant while walking home with his brother in Malaysia’s Kedah state.

Padang Terap district police chief Noh Idris said Mat Juhid Osman, 49, and his brother were returning home from an orchard near the Padang Terap district when they were believed to have been “suddenly” attacked by the elephant at about 6.30pm.

The victim sustained injuries on the head and broke his arm in the attack, and was taken to Kuala Nerang Hospital by his brother. The doctor at the hospital later confirmed the victim’s death, Noh said in a statement on Saturday.

The police chief said the victim’s body has been sent to Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah for a post-mortem.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN) has been contacted to track down the elephant and determine whether it is still in the surrounding areas, he added.

A PERHILITAN spokesman said that it was possible that the elephant had escaped deep into the
jungle.

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Malaysia investigates the deaths of dozens of rare Rare Elephants in Saba


- Authorities of Malaysia are investigating the deaths of dozens of pygmy elephants belonging to rare and protected species in the Borneo forest.Some of the stunted elephants were found dead with gunshot wounds to their bodies.

Mentioned by the Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Augustine Tuuga, to Thursday (08/30/2018), that at least 25 dwarf elephants died in the territory of Sabah , Borneo this year.

"This is the highest number recorded so far," said Augustine referring to the number of dwarf elephant deaths every year.

Added Augustine that more than 100 other dwarf elephants died in Sabah in the last eight years.The WWF conservation group estimates that only 1 500 remaining dwarf elephants remain.

Pygmy elephants who have faces like baby elephants, have big ears and long tails that hang.Pygmy elephants can be found in Borneo or Kalimantan, which is divided into three countries, namely Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam.

Habitat loss is the biggest threat to the survival of dwarf elephants.The rise of deforestation and the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations have contributed to the declining population of dwarf elephants.

Not a few dwarf elephants die in the hands of hunters or get caught in traps that are intentionally installed to catch them.

Local authorities have not been able to find the exact cause of the high number of dwarf elephant deaths this year.But Augustine said most dwarf elephants were outside the forest and more often inside the plantation area.

The latest death of dwarf elephants in Sabah occurred on Saturday (25/8) local time.At that time, wildlife authority officials found the carcass of a female dwarf elephant that had rotted inside the local plantation area.The dwarf elephant had a gunshot scar on its temples.

Before that, two other dwarf elephants were reported dead as a result of being shot and several others died from injuries sustained after being caught in a trap.

According to Augustine, it is not easy to arrest and try the killers of these dwarf elephants.Especially because of the remote location and lack of information and eyewitness information.Augustine said that there were absolutely no witnesses who appeared despite the stipulated reward of 120 thousand Ringgit (Rp. 427 million).

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lost baby elephant wanders into school

SUNGAI SIPUT: While children learn about the various wildlife in our jungles, students at Sekolah Rendah Kampung Lintang did not expect to see one up close and personal in their school compound.

Early this morning, residents at Kampung Lintang were shocked when a baby elephant, believed to have been separated from its herd was spotted roaming in a residential area and later ended up in the school compound.

Sungai Siput district police chief Supt Rozeni Ismail said they received the information at about 7.20am from a resident.

"Police went to the location and found that the baby elephant had left the area and made its way towards Lintang town.

Early this morning, residents at Kampung Lintang were shocked when a baby elephant, believed to have been separated from its herd was spotted roaming in a residential area and later ended up in the school compound. Pic by NSTP/courtesy of PERHILITAN

"The wild elephant then entered the Kampung Lintang community hall, passed in front of the Lintang police station and entered Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Lintang," he said when contacted today.

Residents chased the baby elephant away and it later ran towards Sungai Siput and entered a farm about one kilometre from Lintang town.

"Efforts to track down the elephant was done by the Peninsular Malaysia Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and they found it at 10.20am at the farm," he said.

Meanwhile Perak Perhilitan deputy director Wan Shaharuddin Wan Nordin when contacted confirmed the incident and said the operation to capture the elephant involved eight officers.

He said the baby elephant was captured in good health and it did not sustain any injuries.

The department estimates the elephant to be about three years old based on the size of its paw and weight.

"The baby elephant is now placed temporarily at the Sungai Siput Perhilitan and we are waiting for a lorry from the National Wildlife Rescue Centre (NWRC) in Sungkai to send the elephant to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary in Pahang," he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Juvenile elephant shot dead in Tongod



TONGOD: An elephant was found dead with a gunshot wound at Kampung Karamuak here.

This brings the number of elephants killed in Sabah to 10 this year.

A team of wildlife rangers from Kinabatangan Wildlife Office stumbled upon the carcass of the juvenile male elephant by the roadside at Kampung Karamuak here about 7.40am on July 23.

Sabah Wildlife Department public relations officer Siti Nur’Ain Ampuan Acheh said the wildlife rangers were returning home from carrying out elephant controls at Kampung Karamuak.

“The juvenile male elephant is about three to four years old,” she said in a statement yesterday.

She added that a team was sent yesterday to investigate and conduct a post-mortem to determine the cause of death.

The post-mortem team found a wound at the right rump of the elephant, she said, adding a pellet was inside the abdomen.

“Some parts of the intestines were torn. There was a severe internal bleeding inside the abdomen suggesting several blood vessels were damaged.

“The cause of death is determined to be hypovolemic shock due to severe internal bleeding caused by the pellet,” Siti Nur’Ain explained.

“From the position of the injury and the trajectory of the pellet, it is highly probable that the elephant was shot either from a close range from an elevated place or from the back of a vehicle.”

Siti Nur’Ain said according to information gathered during investigation, a herd of elephants had been in Kampungg Karamuak for the last one month.

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Elephant bull captured in Ulu Muanad Beluran

KOTA KINABALU: An elephant bull has been captured and will be transferred out from Kg Ulu Muanad, Beluran, to a distant forest reserve.

According to Sabah Wildlife Department’s spokesperson, Siti Nur’ain Amp Acheh, the elephant bull was captured after two weeks of tracking its movement.

She said that there are still three elephants remaining in the area and that SWD hopes to capture and translocate them as soon as possible out of the area.

She explained that human-elephant conflict in Ulu Muanad has been an issue since November, 2015.

The damages caused by the elephants at the area were estimated to be nearly RM200,000 per annum.

The Sandakan Wildlife Office has been working closely with the community at Ulu Muanad, The Forest Trust (NGO) and IJM Plantation in Ulu Muanad since 18 November, 2015 to address the human-elephant conflict there.

The Forest Trust and IJM Plantation has formed a team comprising of youths from Kg Ulu Muanad to assist the department to mitigate the conflict.

Training and workshops have been conducted to prepare the team for the task.

The full cooperation from the team and the fund provided by the Forest Trust and IJM Plantation as well as the local community in Kg Ulu Muanad have helped eased the human-elephant conflict there and SWD is grateful for their support.

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Bull elephant captured, waiting to be translocated to forest reserve

BELURAN: A bull elephant was successfully captured at Kampung Ulu Muanad here by wildlife rangers yesterday after two weeks of tracking, and is now waiting to be translocated to a forest reserve.

There were still three other elephants remaining in the area which Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) hoped to capture and translocate as soon as possible to reduce human-elephant conflict there, said SWD officer and spokesperson Siti Nurain Ampuan Acheh.

The Sandakan Wildlife Department office at present has been working closely with the community there, as well as non-governmental organisation (NGO) the Forest Trust and IJM Plantation management since November 2015, when the human-elephant conflict become an issue.

In a statement here, Siti Nurain said the conflict had resulted in damage of about RM200,000 a year.

“The Forest Trust and IJM Plantation then formed a team of youths from Kg Ulu Muanad to assist the Wildlife Department to mitigate the conflict.

“Training and workshop were conducted to prepare the team to assist in mitigating the conflict.

“The full cooperation of the whole team has eased the situation of human-elephant conflict in Ulu Muanad, and Sabah Wildlife Department wishes to thank those involved in the process and hoped for their continuous support,” she added.

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Juvenile pygmy elephant found dead with wounds all over body



KOTA KINABALU: A juvenile male pygmy elephant was found dead near an abandoned logging camp outside the Kuamut Forest Reserve in east coast Kinabatangan district.

The elephant, believed to be between five and eight years old, was found dead with wounds on its body by estate workers on Thursday (July 19).

Sabah Wildlife Department public relation officer Siti Nur’Ain Ampuan Acheh said a team of investigators were sent to the scene after receiving the report.

“The elephant was found with a severe crack on the left side of its skull, believed to have resulted from fighting with a larger elephant,” she said in a statement Sunday.

Meanwhile, Siti said the other parts of the elephants body and ivory were intact.

She also thanked the estate workers from Rakyat Berjaya Sdn Bhd who alerted them about the elephant.

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Bee scent could repel elephants, prevent conflict with humans: study

UNITED STATES: Elephants never forget a bee sting. Their eyes and the sensitive, soft tissue inside their trunks are particularly vulnerable to painful stings, and experts believe African elephants(Loxodonta africana) have learned over the centuries to recognize the scents bees give off when they are scared and ready to swarm.

Now, researchers say this well-honed fear of bees could be used to help repel the majestic beasts in places where they risk conflicts with humans.

In a three-month field test at South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park, scientists hung white socks filled with bee pheromones, which are chemical clues that honeybees release from their bodies when they perceive a threat to their hive.

A total of 25 of 29 elephants that approached the “showed typical signs of increased alertness, signs of uncertainty, and finally calmly moved away,” said the report in the journal Current Biology.

To make sure it wasn’t simply the socks but the odour emanating from them, researchers hung similar socks that did not contain the pheromones, and found that elephants were curious about the socks, would pick them up and even taste them at times.

Since some farmers in Africa already place commercial bee hives along their fence lines to protect their crops from elephants, the results suggest there may be a cheaper way to ward off conflicts.

“Our results complement previous studies that have demonstrated that active bee hives can deter elephants from crops for example but may be difficult to implement on a large scale,” said lead author Mark Wright, a professor of entomology at the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“We hope to expand this work to develop additional tools for sustainable passive management of elephant movements, to augment the current approaches used.

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Sabah records third elephant death in eight days

SANDAKAN, July 24 — A third elephant has been found killed in Sabah within a span of eight days, and this time, the pachyderm was found shot dead at Kampung Karamuak, Tongod in Kinabatangan.

Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) Public Relations Officer Siti Nur’Ain Ampuan Acheh said a team of wildlife rangers from the Kinabatangan wildlife office stumbled upon the carcass at the road side at 7.40am yesterday while they were returning from elephant control work at Kampung Karamuak,

She said the male juvenile elephant was estimated to be between three to four years old and that a team was dispatched to the scene to investigate , including to carry out a post mortem to determine the cause of death.

A wound at the right rump of the elephant was found and this was then traced to the discovery of a pellet inside the abdomen, said Siti Nur’Ain in a statement today.

She said some parts of the intestines were torn and that there was severe internal bleeding inside the abdomen, suggesting several blood vessels were damaged.

She said the cause of death was determined to be hypovolemic shock due to severe internal bleeding caused by the pellet.

“From the position of the injury and the trajectory of the pellet, it is highly probable that the elephant was shot from close range from an elevated place or from the back of a vehicle,” she added.

Siti Nur’Ain said according to information gathered, a herd of elephants had been seen in Kampung Karamuak for the past one month.

She said the department would continue to probe the case and find those involved in the killing.

On July 19, a male elephant was found dead near an abandoned logging camp in Kuamut Forest Reserve in Kinabatangan, believed to be due to a fight with a larger elephant, leading to a severe crack on the left skull.

Prior to that, a male elephant with a badly wounded foot was found dead on July 16 in an oil palm plantation at Ulu Segama in Lahad Datu, believed to be the victim of a snare trap.

Elephants in Sabah are a Totally Protected species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997. — Bernama

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Elephant from herd in conflict with Sabahy/n villagers for past three years captured

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife officers have captured a bull Borneo pygmy elephant, part of a herd that has been in conflict with villagers in east coast Beluran district for about three years.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Augustine Tuuga said its officers and some villagers had been tracking the movements of the elephants at Kg Ulu Muanad for two weeks and finally managed to capture one on Thursday (July 19).

He said that they would be moving the animal far away from Ulu Maunad, but did not disclosed where.

Tuuga said that they were still tracking three more elephants, and hoped to capture and translocate them as soon as possible.

He said the Sandakan Wildlife Office worked closely with the Ulu Muanad community, NGO The Forest Trust as well as IJM plantation and formed a team of village youth to handle to situation.

Wildlife conservationists are growing concern over a sudden spike in deaths of elephants with some 16 found dead since April this year.

The cause of the animals' deaths have yet to be ascertained as post-mortem examinations on the carcasses provided no conclusive evidence for wildlife rangers investigating the cases.

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Endangered pygmy elephant shot dead on Borneo



A pygmy elephant was shot dead on Borneo island after it destroyed villagers' crops, a Malaysian wildlife official said Thursday, the latest of the endangered creatures to be killed.

The male elephant, believed to be about four years old, was found Monday by the side of a road in the state of Sabah, on the Malaysian part of Borneo, local wildlife department director Augustine Tuuga told AFP.

"(The elephant) was killed out of revenge for destroying crops," he said, adding the crops included palm oil trees.

He said the creature's tusks remained intact, indicating the elephant was not killed by poachers seeking to sell its ivory on the black market.

It was the latest case in Malaysia of human-animal conflict, which happens when human settlements or agricultural plantations expand into a species's natural habitat.

Malaysia is home to vast tracts of rainforest and a kaleidoscope of exotic wildlife, from elephants to orangutans and tigers, but the numbers of many rare species have fallen dramatically in recent decades.

As well as human-animal conflict, many endangered animals are hunted for their body parts which fetch a high price for use in traditional medicine in China, and elsewhere in Asia.

At least 18 pygmy elephants have been killed in Malaysian Borneo since April, The Star newspaper reported. Causes of death included elephants being targeted by poachers and poisoning.

Pygmy elephants are baby-faced with large ears, plump bellies and long tails that sometimes drag on the ground, according to environmental group WWF.

Rainforest-clad Borneo is the world's third-largest island and is shared between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Baby elephant rescued from Tawau palm oil plantation

KOTA KINABALU, July 11 — Wildlife authorities have rescued an elephant calf, among the youngest they have come across, in a human-elephant conflict area in Tawau.

The young male jumbo, estimated to be less than a year old, was wandering alone at about 3pm yesterday when it was found by plantation workers in the Brumas oil palm area, who alerted their managers and called the authorities to rescue the animal.

Witnesses said that the animal was weak and seemed tired, but it was not aggressive when a team from the Sabah Wildlife Department came to take it away.

The elephant calf is currently under the care of wildlife rangers at the department’s Tawau base.

“The elephant found is very small and young, probably a few months and definitely less than a year. It will need a lot of attention and care if it is to survive,” said the source.

It has yet to be decided where the elephant calf will be kept, as it cannot be returned to the wild with an unfamiliar herd.

An elephant calf found alone is usually not a good sign for the species, indicating that its herd is either dead or faced some conflict that caused the calf to end up alone.

The Brumas area where the calf was found has experienced elephant encounters before, including an attack by a rogue bull elephant two years ago.

Oil palm plantations in the area also regularly report the presence of elephants despite a wildlife corridor that sometimes pose a danger to the crops and occasionally, the residents.

The east coast and interior of Sabah has seen an increase of human-wildlife conflict due to the rapid pace of development and land clearing.

In between 2013 and 2016, 15 orphaned baby elephants were found on their own in Tawau, Lahad Datu, Telupid, Kinabatangan and Sandakan — areas known as a hotbed of human-elephant conflicts. 

The Sabah Wildlife Department is currently under scrutiny following reports of an ill-managed Lok Kawi Wildlife Park where rehabilitated animals are kept, including 16 elephants.

The recent death of two of its captive elephants — a 15-year-old and a three-year-old calf — raised concerns about the department’s capability of looking after Sabah’s endangered animals.

Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Christina Liew said there was no conclusive cause of death except that the animals were sick and “not expected to live long”.

Sabah’s endemic elephant population has been dwindling. There are an estimated 1,500 Borneo Pygmy elephants left in the wild.

This year alone, 16 deaths were reported to authorities, with six of those in the last two months.

Liew said that post-mortem reports showed that they had died of an unknown disease, with no discernible external wounds.

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