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 a new addition to the Sungai Deka Elephant Sanctuary in Terengganu and the Johor Elephant Sanctuary in Kota Tinggi.
“The Federal Government, in collaboration with the Perak government, has approved the proposal for the construction of the new sanctuary, which will be implemented under the 12th Malaysia Plan,” he said after launching the 2019 World Elephant Day celebration at the Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre yesterday.
Also present were his deputy Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim and Exim Bank chairman Datuk Feizal Mustapha.Dr Xavier 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 conflicts 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.
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 individuals for their help in the conservation of elephants and other wildlife.
Exim Bank, for instance, sponsored RM55,000 under its corporate social responsibility initiative by providing two prosthetic legs for a female elephant named Elly as well as medicine and equipment for managing baby elephants. — Bernama