Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shrinking habitat threat to Bornean elephants in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The prevailing human-elephant conflict is expected to increase in the next five to 10 years due to shrinking habitats.

Although the state retains some 50 per cent of its permanent forest cover and is the second largest in the country, the lack of natural wildlife habitats is causing more human conflict with the Bornean elephants whose population has been estimated at less than 1,500.

The forests are broken up by agriculture without corridors linking them.

And, unless this conflict is addressed and private companies make real efforts to reforest corridors, Sabah may reach a stage of having to put down these gentle creatures.

State wildlife director Laurentius Ambu said: “Even if serious efforts on forest corridors are made, we still have to manage human elephant conflict in the interim and there is an urgent need to set up a rapid response rescue and translocation (RRRT) team to deal with this issue,”

He said they are currently working with the private sector to establish the RRRT team.

However, he said the setting up of such a team is extremely costly.

“Rescuing and translocating a single elephant can cost up to RM100,000 or more,” Laurentius disclosed.

Just recently, a young male elephant had to be removed from the east coast and sent to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park for its own safety.

Continue reading at: Shrinking habitat threat to Bornean elephants in Sabah

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