KALABAKAN, Oct 9 -- The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) will discuss with the Department of Wildlife and National Park (DWNP) of Sabah on the need to set up an elephant conservation centre here, as found in Pahang and Perak.
Felda Plantation Department director Izham Mustaffa said the creation of the centre was in a move to prevent the elephants from continuing to be a threat to the oil plantations in Felda Umas.
‘’Indeed, we had relocated the elephants involved but the pachyderms, which had collars and were tagged, were found to have returned to the area (Felda Umas).
‘’As such, we (Felda) have to discuss with the department to find a method, namely, a more permanent and orderly area to manage the wild elephants which are still thriving in the Felda Umas area,’’ he said.
He said this to reporters after an Information Programme to Felda Staff and Settler Heads of Wilayah Sahabat On the Method of Wild Life Management and Protection at the Felda Gugusan Umas Hall, here today.
He also understood that there were over 40 adult elephants alone in the Felda Umas plantation area which threatened the oil palm plantations and also entered villages to disrupt the lives of their residents.
In the meantime, Izham said that other than the DWNP, Felda would also communicate with other plantation companies and non-government organisations, to jointly set up the elephant conservation centre at a suitable site.
‘’Our conflict (with the elephants) results when there is no food. Conflicts ensue when the plantations, which are food for the settlers, have to be shared with the elephants.
‘’If possible we don’t want a collision which resulted from seeking food at the same place. So, we have to have a process to relocate the elephants to a more suitable place as soon as possible,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, he said elephants were among the animals which were threats to Felda oil palm plantations nationwide resulting in millions of ringgit of losses.
‘’The cost of relocating an elephant often touches RM40,000 each. It’s ok if that is the end of the story, but these elephants come back, this does not include the trees which they damage,’’ he said.
According to Izham, Felda was always committed in tackling the elephant-human conflict through various control methods such as elephant drain system and electric fences without flouting the laws of the country.
In addition, Izham also reminded all settlers and Felda managements not to be involved in catching or killing protected animals.
‘’Felda will not defend the personnel involved, ‘’ he added.