IPOH: The hot weather that has dried up leaves and tree barks may have caused 12 rogue elephants to leave the Piah Forest reserve to feed in the nearby oil palm plantation and fruit orchards in Kampung Lasah in Sungai Siput, about 40km from here.
State Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director Jasmi Abdul said the elephants could have encroached into the village to forage for food.
He said villagers were afraid to go into their orchards for fear of the elephants which were believed to be still there.
The elephants, including four calves, have been feeding on the crops and damaging them in the process over the past one week.
Efforts by rangers from the Sungai Siput branch of the Perhilitan department to drive away the elephants were futile.
Jasmi said the rangers tried to chase them back into the jungle by shooting in the air.
Since this did not work, the farmers came to the Ipoh office for help two days ago.
About seven rangers headed by state department deputy director Osman Saadon tried to tranquillise the elephants on Tuesday but that has not helped either.
We will try again later with a stronger tranquilliser to bring them down, he said, adding that there were eight female and four male elephants.
Jasmi said the state department would seek the Pahang Perhilitan's help to capture the elephants and send them to the Belum Forest Reserve.