January 7, 2018

Yet Another wild Elephant Dies, in Gerik

Yet Another wild Elephant Dies, in Gerik

Malaysia's wild elephants face a variety of dangers. Photo Credit: PxHere

These aren’t good times for Malaysia’s wild elephants. Over the past few months several of them have died, having been poached for their ivory, run down on roads by cars, or gunned down by irate plantation workers.

Now yet another elephant is dead.

The body of the dead female elephant was found at a construction site. Photo Credit: Gerik Fan Club via Facebook

An elderly female pachyderm died after being electrocuted at a roadwork site near an army base at Tasik Banding in Gerik. Reportedly the jumbo pushed against the zinc wall of a cabin at the site when it was electrocuted by a shock of 240 volts.

The jumbo, who was around 40 years of age and weighed around 2 tons, had likely been foraging for food when she came across the abandoned construction site where road repair had been undergoing.

Worse: the female elephant was lactating, which means that a young elephant calf might be wandering in nearby forests without its mother.

“It is very common for them (elephants) to roam around this area beside the highway as there is plenty of grass and suitable food,” Alicia Solana, an elephant expert, has been quoted as saying. “It is a big loss emotionally for this herd as we see them very often.”

Sadly, the number of wild elephants that perish are bound to increase around the country. With much of their natural habitats lost or increasingly fragmented, wild elephants have no choice but to wander into populated areas where they end up facing a variety of dangers, including road accidents and unfortunate mishaps like this.

The solution is simple: we must preserve the habitats of Malaysia’s beleaguered elephants, and other endangered wildlife, at all cost.

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  1. Mr. S M Mohd Idris

    Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is astounded at the death of yet another wild elephant in Gerik, Perak. The incident occurred on January 3rd when a 40 year old female elephant was electrocuted by a live wire on a construction site.
    The herd of elephants come into populated areas foraging for food. These pachyderms have lost their natural habitats due to extensive and uncontrolled land clearance leading to increasingly fragmented habitats. According to an elephant expert, suitable habitat is lost when roads are built that traverse grasslands and bring automobile traffic.

    SAM, NGOs, and members of the community have expressed concern on several occasions over the number of roadkill deaths of elephants and other endangered species, but it appears that the Malaysian Highway authorities have not considered addressing the many letters published in the media. Even letters from SAM to the highway authorities have gone unanswered to this day.

    Malaysian elephants are exposed to dangers from all fronts – from becoming targeted by poachers, automobile accidents, poisoning, and shot or killed by plantation workers. The future of our elephants is bleak.

    The electrocution of this lactating female elephant brings to mind a similar incident in Sabah where 7 endangered pygmy elephants died in an abandoned quarry pond last year. It is irresponsible to leave work projects that are a hazard to both human and animal.

    Which government body, department, or agency is responsible for putting up the cabin and later abandoned it upon completion of its project without disconnecting its electrical supply? Who will be held responsible for this unsafe worksite? What if a human had ventured or gone near the cabin and accidentally stepped on the live wire?

    The loss of one elephant is a number less and what about its baby? It may follow the herd but what are its chances of survival without its mother?

    This cause of death should be clearly investigated and not taken lightly by the Wildlife department. Such irresponsible action of the parties involved should not be condoned.

    Given this situation and neglect of safety protocol, SAM urges the Wildlife department to conduct an in-depth probe into the unfortunate incident and call for investigations and findings to be made public at the soonest time possible.

    S M Mohd Idris
    President
    Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)

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