Saturday, November 5, 2011

Two Elephants Extorting Orang Asli Villagers

The aboriginal population of Kampong Keladan near Kampong Aur here suffered a great loss when two wild elephants destroyed their crops yesterday. The elephants, believed to have come from Bukit Ibam Forest Reserve have destroyed subsistence crops such as bananas, oil palm seedlings, rubber, bamboo, coconut and betel nut trees.

The vilagers are worried about the safety of their lives because the attack took place at night. A resident, Awang Mansur, 49, said he saw the two elephants at night when they into his garden and destroyed the rubber tree, nut and banana. He believed the elephants to be mother and child pair and their loud voice had awakened him from sleep.

"I managed to burn firecrackers to frighten the elephants but to no avail since the animals continued destroying the crops other than eating sago palm oil and rubber," he told reporters here yesterday. Lachai Chukin, 76, said he did not know what caused his pet dog to bark two nights in a row until told neighbors about the elephant attacks.

"I thought my house was broken into but apparently the elephants had invaded my fenced garden that housed banana crops," he said. He said he was shocked to see the footprints and droppings scattered in his garden yesterday morning. "I may become a victim of violence by these animals if they are not transferred back to the original habitat," he said.

Jala Heng, 64, said the village had been attacked by elephants at the beginning of last year but their crops were not badly damaged as yesterday. He said the villagers believed that the elephant were still nearby.

Meanwhile, the head of Umno branch of Kampong Aur, Hamidi Nura Mat said urged the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Wildlife) to take immediate action by moving the elephants into a more suitable habitat for the safety of the villagers. He claimed exploration of the Bukit Ibam Forest Reserve to be the major cause of why the elephants moved out to the village.