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Royal donation saves wild elephants in Malaysia

Press Release   •   Jun 25, 2013 17:51 GMT

The Asian Elephant Foundation focusses on 3 main issues: raising awareness, developing solutions for the human-elephant conflict and taking care of elephants with (mobile) elephant clinics. In May 2012 the entire proceeds from the statue the Prince Consort of Denmark made for the Elephant Parade in Copenhagen, covering an amount of € 25,000, was donated to a project from the Danau Girang Field Centre in Sabah, Malaysia. The main goal of this project is to manage human-elephant conflicts in the local palm oil plantations, and this specific donation made it possible to invest in more satellite collars for the elephants to develop and implement elephant mitigation guidelines for the palm oil plantations. Last January, the Wildlife Rescue Unit from Sabah Wildlife Department rescued 10 elephants that ventured more than 45 km from their original range. 

"We received a call from a man near Lahad Datu, complaining that elephants were roaming near his house," explained Jibius Dausip, senior officer from the Wildlife Rescue Unit. "Our team was dispatched to the location and we found 10 individuals together, 9 females of various ages and one young male of about 4 years old. It was most likely a family group that ventured far away from its range," added Dausip. "In less than eight days, we darted and secured every individual of the family group," explained Dr Diana Ramirez, wildlife veterinarian from Wildlife Rescue Unit and Danau Girang Field Centre. "We then translocated all females back to Tabin Wildlife Reserve after collaring the two biggest females with satellite units provided by Danau Girang Field Centre," added Ramirez. 

"The young male suffered a severe injury to its trunk probably from a snare trap. Without captive intervention it would have minimum chances of survival in the wild, and we decided to transfer him to Low Kawi Wildlife Park," concluded Ramirez.“Extensive agriculture through plantations such as palm oil has considerably reduced the habitat of the elephant and other wildlife in Sabah, therefore increasing human-elephant conflicts," explained Dr Benoit Goossens, Director of Danau Girang Field Centre. "The recent death of 14 elephants is most likely a result of human-elephant conflict in elephant ranges and there is an obvious need to better manage the landscape within and around the plantations, by providing routes for wildlife to move from one forest to another," added Goossens. 

"Using satellite monitoring,  we are able to analyse their migratory pattern and advise the plantation owners on how to fence their land to avoid any more intrusion," said Goossens. "Elephant translocation is part of a long-term programme that Sabah Wildlife Department and Danau Girang Field Centre kick-started last year to tackle human-elephant conflicts in agricultural plantations such as palm oil. Funding is currently provided by The Asian Elephant Foundation and Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund," concluded Goossens.

Elephant Parade is the world’s largest open air art exhibition of decorated elephant statues that seeks to attract public awareness and support for Asian elephant conservation. Created by local and international artists, each elephant is a unique piece of art. Parades have been run in the following cities:

Rotterdam 2007

Antwerp 2008                      

Amsterdam 2009

Emmen Zoo 2010                           

London 2010           

Bergen 2010            

Heerlen 2011

Copenhagen 2011 

Milan 2011   

Singapore 2011                  

Hasselt 2012

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