Oh my! This is such sad news.
Pictures of a dead 2-year-old elephant were shared by the Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME) Facebook page, and the caption indicted that it was killed by a car. The baby elephant can be seen lying in a pool of blood in what appears to be the roadside of the Gerik-Jeli Highway.
In their Facebook post, the organisation urged motorists to be more mindful of roaming wildlife. MEME’s field manager and elephant tracker Alicia Solana Mena wrote, “Drivers please slow down at roads with wildlife crossings. Be mindful of our forest friends. Let’s not cause them any more harm. They have already lost so much when we took their forest to build roads on.”
The Gerik-Jeli Highway is part of the 215 kilometres (134 mi) federal highway constructed by the Malaysian Public Works Department (JKR) to shorten the journey from Kota Bharu, Kelantan to northwestern towns and cities of Malaysia such as Alor Star, Kedah, and Penang. It connects Gerik, Perak in the west to Jeli, Kelantan in the east, before being extended further to Lunas, Kedah.
At certain points along the highway, road signs are put up to warn motorists of elephants crossing the road.
Unfortunately, that has deemed ineffective.
Previously, NST wrote that there are more than 60 elephants in the Gerik-Jeli area, which is equivalent to about 70% of the big eared animal’s population in Perak. The daily quoted Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director Noor Alif Wira Osman as saying that 5 groups of elephants, from the Royal Belum State Park and Temenggor Forest Reserve, have been detected roaming along an 80-kilometre stretch of the road.
Meanwhile, Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director Loo Kean Seong said state officers found the elephant’s body at around 7am last Friday (16th June).
Loo explained that motorists need to be more responsible when they are driving late at night or early in the morning. He also added that motorists throughout the country should report to their respective state Perhilitan if they knocked into any endangered or protected animals. “This is so that we can at least investigate and bury the carcass instead of leaving it to rot at the roadside,” he explained.
Perhaps Malaysia needs to start looking at a dedicated grade-separated animal crossing such as Singapore’s Eco-Link@BKE to create a safe passage for wildlife crossing?
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