KOTA KINABALU: Sabah wants to resolve the conflicts between humans and pygmy elephants once and for all.
An unprecedented 26 Borneo pygmy elephants were killed in the first eight months of this year, said Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew.
She said a task force headed by the state Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry’s permanent secretary Datu Rosmadi Datu Sulai was set up to tackle the matter.
“The Sabah Wildlife Department has done everything within its capacity in trying to resolve the human-elephant conflict.
“We have offered rewards of up to RM120,000 to plantation workers who can provide information to the department on the perpetrators behind the elephants’ deaths.
“But there are no takers until now. I am very sure the workers know who killed the animals,” she said after attending the state-level Women’s Day celebration here on Friday.
“Right now, we want all plantation owners to cooperate with the state government to help stop the elephant deaths,” she said.
Liew, who is also the state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said she was not accusing anybody of killing the elephants.
“What I am stressing here is that if an elephant dies on someone’s land, the onus is on the landowner to inform the Sabah Wildlife Department and provide an explanation,” she said.
Under Section 39 (1) of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, Liew said a landowner could take reasonable steps to protect his land, crops and other property from entry and damage by protected animals.
“Put up fencing to protect your land or plantation. Do not kill the elephants which may be roaming around or destroying fruit crops,” she said.
She advised plantation owners to inform the Wildlife Department of the presence of the elephants or deaths, personal injury or damage to their properties caused by the protected animal.
On the statement by Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok that there was no evidence of plantations being involved in the elephant deaths, Liew asked for Kok’s help to get the landowners and plantation owners to cooperate with the state government, including asking them to remove traps.
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