FINDING JOINT SOLUTIONS FOR HEC IN AN INTENSIFYING PLANTATION LANDSCAPE IN SABAH
Dr. Cheryl Cheah Phaik Imm (WWF Malaysia)
With a population estimate of 2,040 individuals in Sabah and looming threats of habitat loss and fragmentation, human-elephant conflict (HEC) is inevitable. HEC hotspots in Sabah include Telupid, Kinabatangan, Tabin and Kalabakan landscapes. Crop and property damages are the most prevalent issues arising from HEC. In this presentation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia provided examples of strategies to reduce HEC, highlighting the importance of collaboration with partners in the plantation sector. One such case study is the partnership with Sabah Softwoods Berhad in the Kalabakan landscape. The partnership resulted in the establishment of a working group to collaboratively implement joint solutions, one of which is studying the movements of satellite-collared elephants. An 80-ha corridor and riparian was created taking into account the results from the elephant movement study as well as the topography and location of river. Other mitigation options are realigning electric fences to cover vulnerable areas, allowing other areas for elephant use and advocating for corridors through plantations.
The case study showed that with proper land use planning, the establishment of corridors and placement of electric fences can mitigate HEC. However, the success of these solutions are site specific and depending on the cooperation between neighbouring plantations. The importance of scientific research should also be stressed upon. It is also important to note that these mitigation actions can only reduce HEC and not eliminate it completely.
Reviewed by: Anna Zulkifli, Executive, SED
This presentation was presented during “MPOC / SWD Human – Wildlife Conflict Workshop” held on 22 – 23 November 2017 at FourPoints by Sheraton, Sandakan, Sabah. For the complete presentation, please click the link provided.