By Dr. Ahimsa Campo-Arceiz (Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants – MEME)
Malaysia is one of the countries with Asian elephants. Elephants are endangered due to habitat loss and human- wildlife conflict. Human-elephant conflict cannot be solved as both beings share the same landscape and needs to be mitigated within tolerable levels.
Elephant distribution assessment covering 45,800 km2, found that only 10.5% of surveyed cells have elephants presence while 70% reduction is indicated in the last 35 years. Elephant tranlocation is a method adopted to mitigate conflict. Since 1974, 600 elephants have been translocated and tracked for an average of 8.4 months.
The alternative method to translocation is an electric fencing system, which is considered to be the best mitigation method by smallholders. They agree that more fences are needed to protect their plantations and orchards. Most of them are aware of the conflict but have no financial capacity to establish the electric fences around their farms or settlement to reduce the conflict. The survey shows that most smallholders were not involved in the establishment of electric fences which was constructed by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia and other big plantation companies. Human-Elephants conflict mitigation measures needs to focus on co-existence. The elephants can be turned into agribusiness resources and this can be done with assistance from researchers and NGOs as well.
This paper was presented at the “Biodiversity Forum 2016“, with the theme “Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation and Action in the Agricultural Sector” jointly organized by Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) with Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN) in Awana Genting Resort on 23rd – 24th May 2016.
Human Elephant Conflictand Research in Peninsular Malaysia
Dr. Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz,
Reviewed by: Anthony K.Veerayan