Elephants saved from abandoned mining pond


PETALING JAYA: Five elephants which were trapped in a mining pond in a forest reserve in Pahang were rescued by wildlife department officers.

The elephants were believed to have been stuck in an abandoned illegal gold mining pond located in the Bukit Ibam forest reserve in Pekan, Pahang.

The animals were rescued on Tuesday.

Pahang Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director Rozidan Md Yasin said the height of the pond was about 4.5m and filled with muddy water about a metre deep.

He said his officers managed to coax the five elephants out of the pool by digging a slope with the help of an excavator borrowed from a company in the area.

Rozidan said they believed that the elephants had been stuck in the pond for two to three days before they were rescued. One of the elephants was a newborn infant.

“We think the infant had fallen into the pond. Its mother and the other three elephants then probably tried to rescue it, but they got stuck as well,” he said in an interview yesterday.

The video of the operation was uploaded onto the department’s Facebook page, which showed the elephants eventually climbing onto the slope that was built for them.

Rozidan said the rescue operation took about six hours and that all the elephants made their way out by 6pm.

He said the Orang Asli who lived in the area informed the department about the trapped elephants trumpeting for help.

He said this was the second time this year that they carried out a similar operation, the other one being in Rompin.

An estimated 3,000 elephants, considered as endangered animals, are left in Malaysia.

Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants deputy principal investigator Dr Wong Ee Phin praised Perhilitan for the quick action to save the elephants, saying they could die if they were left in the pond.

In 2016, The Star reported that seven Borneo Pygmy elephants drowned after they were stuck in a disused quarry pond in Tawau.

The nine pachyderms were believed to have been trapped inside the pond for at least a week before they were found by passers-by.

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