TEMERLOH (Bernama): The government will set up an elephant sanctuary on an area spanning 100ha in Perak at a cost of about RM20mil.
Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the move was part of an ongoing effort to conserve elephants, which were increasingly threatened due to human-elephant conflicts.
He said the new sanctuary would be in addition to the Sungai Deka Elephant Sanctuary in Terengganu and the Johor Elephant Sanctuary in Kota Tinggi.
"The government, in collaboration with the state government of Perak, has approved the proposal for the construction of the new sanctuary, which will be implemented under the 12th Malaysia Plan, ” he told reporters after officiating 2019 World Elephant Day celebrations at the Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre here Saturday (Sept 7).
Also present were his deputy Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim and Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd (Exim Bank) chairman Datuk Feizal Mustapha.
Dr Xavier also expressed hope that other states would be interested in developing an elephant sanctuary, which could solve the human-elephant conflict through the release of the animals into the natural habitat at the sanctuary.
"A total of 1,118 complaints on human-elephant conflict have been recorded in peninsular Malaysia between 2016 and 2018. It is estimated that there are 1,680 elephants in the peninsula, while about 2,000 are in Sabah and Sarawak," he said.
At the programme, Dr Xavier also announced the appointment of actress and environmental activist Maya Karin as 'The Voice of Wildlife' to assist the Ministry and Perhilitan in volunteer activities and disseminating information on wildlife conservation.
He also expressed his appreciation to the private sector, non-governmental organisations and private individuals for their help in the conservation of elephants and other wildlife and hoped that more would do the same.
Exim Bank, for instance, sponsors RM55,000 under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative by providing two prosthetic legs for a female elephant named Elly as well as medicine and equipment for managing baby elephants. - Bernama