MPOC-PERHILITAN-FELDA: THE ELECTRIC FENCE SYSTEM (SPEG) WORKSHOP
The Electric Fence System (SPEG) Workshop was held on 3rd to 5th April 2017 at Prime City Hotel, Kluang, Johor, in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN) Peninsular Malaysia and FELDA. This workshop aimed to gather inputs from various relevant stakeholder to improve the existing electric fence system in mitigating human-elephant conflict (HEC).
According to PERHILITAN, the most effective method to mitigate HEC is through the installation of electric fence along the border of estates prone to elephant intrusion. PERHILITAN has developed a manual on the construction and maintenance of electric fence to reduce the HEC issue.
owever, SPEGs developed by these plantation companies are less effective in preventing elephant intrusion compared to those developed by PERHILITAN. Therefore, there is a need for a common and effective SPEG standard to deal with HEC. Thus, this workshop was organised to develop an electric fence system that is cost-effective in deterring elephant intrusion.
This workshop started with a field trip to two SPEGs in Kluang district. The first was in FELDA Kahang Timur. Here, the SPEG was constructed to stop elephant intrusion from the nearby forest reserve. The problem arise when the state government converted the forest reserve into a dam to provide drinking water to population in that area. As the dam came into shape, flooding caused the elephants to roam and wander into nearby plantations looking for food. The second SPEG visited was constructed by PERHILITAN and located at Sri Lukut area. The SPEG was constructed to prevent elephants from Lenggor Forest Reserve from encroaching into the village next to the forest. From the two sites, participants were able to compare both specifications.
The second day of the workshop started with a presentation from PERHILITAN on elephant’s behaviour and current activities conducted by PERHILITAN in mitigating HEC. FELDA and Kulim (Malaysia) Berhad also presented their experiences in the use of SPEG to deter elephant intrusion. OneLazuli Sdn. Bhd., a pioneer in electric fence technology in Malaysia, was given an opportunity to present available tools and technology related to electric fence system.,
A total of 53 participants attended the workshop representing various plantation companies such as FELDA, Sime Darby, Kulim (Malaysia) Berhad, ECER Plantation, Tabung Haji Plantation, Madoss Plantation, Tradewinds Plantation and TDM Plantation. Participants were divided into 4 groups to discuss on cost-effective and field-effective specifications that can be adopted by relevant stakeholders to minimise HEC.
From the group discussions, different SPEG specifications were proposed and they differ from one group to the other. Recommendations for effective and affordable SPEG specifications to mitigate HEC from all groups will be further analysed by PERHILITAN, FELDA and MPOC. PERHILITAN, FELDA and MPOC were tasked to produce a manual on suitable specification of SPEG to be adopted by relevant stakeholders. The manual will be made available online.
During the closing ceremony, FELDA’s Director of Plantation commended on the workshop on its success to gather participation from many companies, especially those facing the HEC. He emphasised that the workshop was very informative with many new ideas which may be beneficial to those involved in HEC. He also stressed on the importance to create more awareness among plantation companies and the community to protect the elephants by adopting them as iconic species to a reputable organisation.
In conclusion, HEC is becoming an important issue and requires all stakeholders from plantation industry, government agency such as PERHILITAN and the local community to coordinate their effort in mitigating it.
by: Ahmad Shahdan Kasim