All Parties Must Join Forces To Tackle Elephant-Human Conflict

TAWAU: Plantation companies and the state government are encouraged to work together to create more green food supply corridors for elephants and other wildlife in Sabah.

Tawau Nature Society chairman, J Hamzah Ahmad said the proposal was one of the steps for the conservation of elephants, especially in the East Coast of Sabah.

“The food corridor is for elephants and other wildlife, as part of specific efforts to reduce human-elephant conflict.

“With the corridor being planted with natural plants, the herd will know exactly where to look for food, and it will not have to return to the oil palm plantations and destroy the crops,” he told Bernama.

According to him, the scarcity of food sources has forced the elephants to ravage villages, rivers or farms.

Sabah Softwood Berhad (SSB) had already built a 1,000-hectare wildlife corridor here, located between Ulu Segama and Ulu Kalumpang, which allows 50 to 60 elephants to search for food daily.

Hamzah said the SSB’s effort should be emulated and extended to other plantations, as the result could have a positive impact on the conservation of wildlife in the state.

A resident of Kalabakan, Mohd Asran, 35, said the public needed to be aware and quickly report the presence of elephants to the authorities such as the Wildlife Department so that the mammals could be moved to areas far away from human settlements.

He said elephant conservation should not just be left to the government or conservation groups, but the community could be the eyes and ears to address the elephant-human conflict.

It is estimated that there are only 1,500 to 2,500 elephants in the forests and the declining habitats have put more pressure on elephants and other wildlife in the East Coast of Sabah.