Terengganu vil­lagers burn tyres to ward off ele­phants

New Straits Times - - News -

SETIU: Oil palm small­hold­ers and or­chard own­ers have turned to burn­ing tyres to ward of a herd of wild ele­phants that have been sighted for­ag­ing near three vil­lages in Terengganu.

The ele­phants, be­lieved to be the same herd that de­stroyed more than 2ha of oil palm in Kam­pung Kerong here last year, were spot­ted in the past week in the same vil­lage, as well as Kam­pung Pe­long and Bukit Kesing.

“Four vil­lagers and rangers from the Na­tional Parks and Wildlife De­part­ment (Per­hili­tan) have been keep­ing vigil for any signs of intrusion by the ele­phants.

“Some or­chard own­ers have been burn­ing tyres to keep the ele­phants at bay,” said Zamri Ma­mat, 43, from Kam­pung Pe­long.

Zamri, who has sev­eral oil palm plots in the vil­lage, said the ele­phants seemed to be just pass­ing through and could have been at­tracted to the smell of durian flow­ers and young jack­fruit in the or­chards.

“We have spot­ted eight an­i­mals, but other herds may be at­tracted to en­croach into the or­chards.

“Last year, an oil palm small­holder lost all his young trees to a bigger herd, which crossed the elec­tric fence bor­der­ing Kam­pung Kerong.

“We are not pre­pared to lose more of our newly-planted oil palms to the ele­phants.”

He said Per­hili­tan rangers had been help­ful in pre­vent­ing the pachy­derms from for­ag­ing in the or­chards.

Zamri said the rangers would not at­tempt to cap­ture the ele­phants be­cause it would be costly as re­lo­cat­ing one an­i­mal costs at least RM30,000.

“We are not wast­ing bul­lets to scare the an­i­mals, but rather try to make our pres­ence known to the an­i­mals with­out pro­vok­ing them.

“This is prob­a­bly the best way of mak­ing the ele­phants move away from the small­hold­ings and or­chards.”

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