KOTA KINABALU: A special working group called the Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) will be set up to focus specifically on Bornean elephants in Sabah.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew (pic) said this is among the most important points from the 10th AsESG meeting held here recently.
She said members of the proposed working group would include selected experts from the AsESG, senior officers from the Sabah government, palm oil industry representatives and also representatives from civil society organisations.
"The proposed working group would look into pertinent elephant conservation issues in Sabah that need to be tackled," she said in a statement issued on Tuesday (Dec 17).
"We really need to assist Sabah in solving the critical issues of brutal elephant killings and human-elephant conflict, ” Liew said.
She said that she hoped that this would be the first step in having an approach, where humans and elephants can co-exist.
The three-day AsESG meeting started on Dec 4 and had gathered members and government officials from all 13 Asian countries with elephant populations.
Other issues discussed during the meeting included human-elephant conflicts, awareness and enforcement, as well as zero-killing in the plantation landscape.
“This is something I am sure AsESG would be able to assist, ” Liew said.
She said the conclusion of the meeting saw many presentations ranging from guidelines for best practices in mitigating of human-elephant conflicts and guidelines for the welfare and use of captive elephants in tourism.
Liew said there is an urgent need for the palm oil industry to make a collective effort to prevent snaring, poaching and encroachment in plantations.
"Equally pressing is the need to bring in local communities to assist in elephant conservation, ” she said.
She said there is also a need to identify a suitable model or type of corridor for Sabah’s landscape, as what is suitable in other states may not be applicable here.