Monday, October 22, 2012

Helpful info from collared Borneo pygmy elephants in Sabah

SATELLITE TRACKING: Data enable Sabah officials prevent human-wildlife conflicts

KOTA KINABALU: THE survival of Borneo pygmy elephants in Sabah is brighter with data collected from pachyderms fitted with satellite collars.

Since 2008, nine elephants had been fitted with such collars in the Kinabatangan area, allowing wildlife officials to gather crucial information.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said of the nine elephants, the satellite collars of four were still emitting their location points, providing data on their habitats and movements.

"A female has already provided two years' of data and 24 positions per day.

"This data will allow my department to pinpoint crucial areas in order to establish connectivity along Sungai Kinabatangan."

Senior veterinarian of the department, Dr Sen Nathan, said with the data, they could take preemptive steps to avoid human-wildlife conflicts and re-route the elephants' path to avoid plantations or villages.

Last Friday, two elephants were fitted with satellite collars -- a male named Gading and a female named Puteri -- near Danau Pitas at the Lower Kinabatangan Sanctuary.

The exercise was part of a joint project between the department, a non-governmental organisation called HUTAN and the Danau Girang Field Centre.