Jumbo death task force comes up with proposals

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 08 Sep 2018

KOTA KINABALU: A task force set up to oversee the worsening situation of elephant deaths in Sabah has come up with several recommendations.

Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), which is part of the task force, said these efforts would include reanalysing past cases and post-mortems as far as 10 years ago to ascertain the major cause of the deaths.

He said all cases should be mapped to identify hotspots on human-elephant conflict, poaching, snaring and poisoning, said DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens (pic).

“We need to identify the potential poisons that could lead to a slow death of elephants and revise the use of herbicides and pesticides in oil palm plantations while increasing anti-poaching patrols in all protected and unprotected areas with the presence of elephants,” he said.

He said more than 25 elephants had died since the start of 2018.

Dr Goossens said the authorities could create an intelligence unit that would gather all information, then analyse it and give feedback to the enforcement team on the ground.

He said the authorities should enforce a zero-snaring policy in Sabah’s protected areas, forest reserves, forest plantations and oil palm plantations.

“We need to also find newer and friendlier strategies for pest control and do research on the impact of agrochemicals and heavy metals in the forests,” he said.

Authorities as well as plantations could consider adopting an integrated electric fencing (mobile fencing) strategy so that elephant movements were not compromised, Dr Goossens said.

“We can continue monitoring the movements of elephants in all ranges by using satellite collars where the information provided will help design corridors and monitor potential risk of human-elephant conflicts,” he said.

As for the death of elephants this year, he said: “It is difficult to identify the main factor. Some deaths are due to poaching, some due to conflicts, poisoning, and several other deaths caused by injuries from snares.”

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