Group: Buffer zone can help protect wildlife


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 04 Nov 2004

BY OLIVIA LEE

PETALING JAYA: Wildlife, especially elephants, need adequate buffer zones to protect them from the threats posed by development and poaching. 

WWF-Malaysia national programme director Dr Dionysius Sharma said it was vital that protected areas in the country provided such buffers between wildlife and human settlements. 

This, he said, was to minimise any untoward incidents like the recent case where two elephants were found dead near a railway track in Johor. 

“Elephants are huge animals which require a lot of space to survive in the wild,” he said. 

On suggestions that fences be built around protected areas, Dr Sharma said it would be impractical as elephants tend to stray out of protected areas in search of new food sources. 

Although electric fences and trenches could contain them, he said it would be simpler if park authorities monitored and understood the movement patterns of elephants. 

“One doesn't just fence up an entire park. If you monitor the patterns and notice that they are moving towards the edge of the park, perhaps you can then dig a trench in that area,” he said in an interview yesterday. 

He also said park authorities should monitor food levels in a habitat areas such as the Endau-Rompin National Park. 

Malaysian Nature Society executive director Dr Loh Chi Leong said those responsible for future highway projects should not fill up ravines, which served as natural crossings for animals to move from one habitat to another.  

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