Sabah Wildlife Rangers Stop Rampaging Herd of 30 Pygmy Elephants

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife rangers have quelled the threat from a rampaging herd of 30 pygmy elephants that were terrorising a village in Sabah’s central region of Telupid over the last three days.

Rangers from the Wildlife Rescue Unit tranquillised two female members of the herd, prior to translocating the two into a the neighbouring Dermakot Forest reserve, in the hope the rest of the herd will make their way back into the forest.

The herd rampaged through Kampung Bauto, causing massive damage to oil palm, banana and other fruit trees planted by villagers, causing substantial losses to the farming community.

Rangers said that the herd was led by a very dominant and wild matriarch that was not deterred by loud noises and fires lit by the Sabah Wildlife Department’s elephant control team.

“This group of elephants was very determined to go into the village and feed on banana trees and young oil palm plants,” said senior wildlife ranger Richard Jaikim.

“They seemed to target the food trees in the village and were not scared off by warning shots fired in the air,” Jaikim said, adding that they then called in the Wildlife Rescue Team to assist.

Sandakan district wildlife officer Rashid Saburi said that the decision was made to tranquillise the matriarch and the other large female leading the herd.

Sabah Wildlife department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said that they would place a GPS collar provided by the Danau Girang field centre, on the matriarch to monitor the movement of the herd.

“Though we will try to translocate them as far as possible into the forest, there is no guarantee that they will stay away as elephant habitats are shrinking fast and increasingly fragmented due to human encroachment,” Nathan added.

Source : The Star

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