Saturday, 11 October 2008

Palm oil causing environmental havoc - everywhere.

2008/10/11 New Straits Times

Injured elephants on the rise, says Sabah wildlife dept


The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) has a mammoth problem on its hands. It is increasingly concerned over the rise in the number of injured and dead elephants in the state.

In one instance, a 25-year veteran wildlife guide and lecturer was reduced to tears when he saw a calf (young elephant) in excruciating pain after falling prey to a man-made trap in Kinabatangan. SWD director Laurentius Ambu noted that the bigger issue facing the department involved elephants getting injured or maimed, mostly due to man-made traps and subsequently succumbing to the injuries. He said that early last month, a calf was found dead from unknown causes.

“Such traps are usually set by oil palm plantation workers to make ends meet by trapping wild boars and deers for sale to restaurants or self-consumption.

“Besides being a cruel and inhumane way to kill wildlife, it is also illegal as it leads to injuries and eventual death of not only elephants but also orang utans, monkeys and other wildlife,” Ambu said in a statement today.He said poachers used rope and wire to set traps for wild boars and deers.

“However, when a calf falls prey to such traps, the rope or wire mesh is left tied around its leg, leading to infection and eventual death,” added Ambu.“We have received photographs of a young elephant in pain from a Japanese wildlife guide and lecturer who frequents Kinabatangan.

“According to Inada Nobuhiro, despite his 25 years experience working up close with wildlife, he became emotional when he watched the animal suffer.“We have to address the problem faced by our elephants before it is too late.

We do not want a similar situation like in Africa,” he added.Ambu warned poachers that the department would use its resources such as the honorary wildlife wardens to put a stop to their activities.The SWD has been working on implementing a management plan for Sabah’s elephants based on resolutions formulated by various stakeholders such as elephant experts in May, at the Bornean Elephant Workshop in Rasa Ria. — BERNAMA