School roving elephant safely caught, to be translocated, says Sabah officials

The captured elephant in Lahad Datu.

KOTA KINABALU: A pygmy elephant which had wandered into a school compound in Lahad Datu recently, has been caught.

The adult male elephant was trapped on Tuesday (Dec 6), a day after it was seen wandering on its own, causing concern and fear among locals there.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said the elephant will soon be translocated to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve more than 40km from where it was captured.

There, they hope to unite the elephant with its herd to roam freely.

He said the elephant did not harm anyone during these two days.

“It was actually more scared and confused with what was going on actually,” Tuuga said.

He said reports of elephants wandering into residential and agricultural areas were quite normal, as many of these elephants would travel far in search for food and shelter.

He urged villagers, farmers and estate operators to contact wildlife officials immediately if they see these mammals nearby.

Tuuga also reminded them not to harm or kill these creatures.

Pygmy elephants are critically endangered in Sabah, with many of them falling prey to poachers, traps, suspected poisoning and victims of human-animal conflicts over the years.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia earlier this year, there are no more than 1,000-1,500 individuals in Sabah including the Central Sabah elephant range.

This data was obtained from the Bornean Elephant Action Plan for Sabah 2020-2029 by the Sabah Wildlife Department, said the WWF-Malaysia on its official webpage.

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