Fri07202018

LAST_UPDATEFri, 20 Jul 2018 8pm

Elephant Conservation Centre Relocated 31 Wild Elephants Nationwide In 2017

Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Center (LKGK) personnel, Lanchang, are trying to remove wild elephants in the forest in Jeli, Kelantan after the animals encroach on the residents' estates near the forest. (pix by MOHD RAFI MAMAT)Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Center (LKGK) personnel, Lanchang, are trying to remove wild elephants in the forest in Jeli, Kelantan after the animals encroach on the residents' estates near the forest. (pix by MOHD RAFI MAMAT)

KUANTAN: Up to 31 wild elephants which were encroaching into human settlements throughout the country were successfully captured and relocated last year.

The mammoth operations to move the pachyderms were carried out by the Elephant Relocation Team of the Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre, which is based near Temerloh.

In each case last year, the team was mobilised following reports by villagers of elephants invading their land in search of food and in the process, damaging their crops and placing their lives in danger.

The Centre’s Elephant Unit head, Nasharuddin Osman, said most wild elephants move in groups of between two and 15 individuals – which means that his team requires time to track them in the jungle and devise plans to capture the large mammals.

"Last year, our unit captured eight elephants in Pahang and Kelantan respectively, followed by seven in Johor and Perak respectively, and one in Terengganu.

“Usually, the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) alerts us about elephant sightings in villages, and we would deploy our men to check the area.

"The cost to capture and relocate elephants can reach RM50,000 per operation. The cost includes transportation for the mammals, the tranquilliser darts and rangers’ allowance," Nasharuddin said when contacted today.

The Elephant Unit consists of highly-trained wildlife rangers who specialise in capturing, subduing and translocating wild elephants who pose a threat to human settlements.

In addition, trained elephants from the centre are usually brought along during the relocation process, as their presence can help coax and guide the captured elephants out of the forest to a waiting lorry.

- NST