Terengganu villagers burn tyres to ward off elephants
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.”