Wild animals have equal right to life
to a recent incident where an elephant was killed in an early-morning crash with a trailer at Batu 13 in Jalan Mersing-Kota Tinggi, Johor.
Investigations found that the incident happened when the driver of another car switched on his high beam when he saw elephants crossing the road.
His action startled a female elephant, which charged at an oncoming trailer travelling from Terengganu to Singapore, resulting in the elephant’s death.
On Aug 25 last year, two tapirs were killed when they were hit by a car while attempting to cross the Gebeng bypass road near Kuantan.
On Aug 23, a 10-year-old elephant bull died after it was struck by a bus in the Gerik-Jeli Highway. The incident occurred about two months after an elephant calf was killed when a car collided with it in the same area near the Royal Belum State Park.
The Wildlife and National Parks Department said from 2012 to last year, 2,444 wild animals were killed by vehicles. These incidents happened despite signs warning motorists about wildlife crossings.
Wildlife and vehicles just do not mix and the construction of more roads in wildlife habitats means that more animals may be killed.
The authorities must tackle wildlife roadkill.
Human behavioural change will reduce roadkill.
There must be public education and awareness efforts to encourage the public to appreciate wildlife.
Road users should never provoke wild animals by honking or turning on their high beam to avoid startling them.
Sites must be identified to enable more animal crossings to be built across highways and roads that pass through animal habitats or migration routes.
Speed bumps and speed cameras should be installed as well as light-coloured roads in wildliferich areas to reduce roadkill.
Authorities should follow the solutions introduced in advanced countries to reduce roadkill, including installing detectors that will trigger flashing signs when animals are detected near roads.
In South America, reflective stickers are placed on GPS collars on tapirs so that the animals are easily spotted in the dark.
Tapirs and elephants are at risk as they cross roads to look for food.
With the help of IT experts, the authorities could develop an app that worked with other apps, such as Waze and Google Maps, to warn drivers about wildlife.
Human behavioural change is crucial to avoid crashes with animals as not all wildlife will use viaducts or crossings.
Like humans, wildlife have a right to co-existence.
I support the Sabah hovernment’s decision to review logging concessions in critical areas where dead pygmy elephants have been discovered recently.
It was reported that the carcasses of six endangered Bornean pygmy elephants, aged between 1 and 37, were discovered in the state in April and last month. The deaths have raised concerns about the wellbeing of the elephants, which number around 2,000.
Patron, Selangor Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Kuala Lumpur
An elephant crossing a road in Kinabatangan, Sabah, this week.