Wildlife Dept urges people to not harm encroaching elephants in eastern Sabah

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 06 Jun 2020

KOTA KINABALU: An increase in human-elephant conflict in Sabah's east coast has kept the hands of wildlife rangers full over the two months.

They are urging affected parties not to harm the elephants as every effort was underway to help resolve the conflicts emerging in various areas from Beluran to Kalabakan in the east coast of the state.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga is urging villagers and plantation owners to take the necessary steps to protect their own crops and properties without hurting the endangered Bornean Pygmy elephants.

"We deployed staff to the conflict areas to help minimise damage to their crops and properties and also to protect the animals from harm.

"Of course, we do not have enough resources such as staff and vehicles so we also very much hope that people also help protect their own crops and properties without harming the animals," he said.

He said reports of elephant encroachment were received in Beluran district, Felda Sahabat and surrounding villages of Kg Sapagaya in Lahad Datu district and also several areas in Tawau and Kalabakan.

"We are also in the process of translocation elephants from Felda Umas, Kalabakan to a forest reserve.

"Expenses will be borne by Felda. This may take some time because there are at least 10 elephants that need to be translocated," he said.

Tuuga said that they could not attend to all conflict areas at the same time due to limited resources.

"We really need the cooperation of all the affected parties," he said.

Farmers, villagers and plantation managements have been reporting increased elephant encroachment into their properties over the last few months in the east coast of Sabah.

The department's wildlife rescue unit and other rangers have been trying to resolve the problem including capturing some of the elephants or shooing them back into neighbouring forests.

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