A wild Elephant met a sad end when it was fatally electrocuted after crashing into a contractors’ cabin in Gerik, Perak January 2, 2018.
By Sylvia Looi, 3rd January 2018;
A female Elephant (Elephas maximus) which was electrocuted after crashing into a contractors’ cabin in Gerik yesterday, was a female leader of a pack that was still breastfeeding her calf, an official has revealed today.
Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) principal assistant director Wan Shaharuddin Wan Nordin said the department came to the conclusion as milk was coming out from its breast.
“We have no idea how old is her calf but those who saw the herd said the Elephant which died was part of a group of six or seven Elephants,” he told Malay Mail when contacted here.
“With the death of its mother, the calf will now be cared for by other Elephants in the group,” he added.
Wan Shaharuddin said initial investigations showed the female Elephant, which was more than 20 years old, had approached the cabin as it smelled food.
“It tried to push down the cabin door to get to the food. The impact of the push instead caused the electricity supplied to the cabin to land on it thus electrocuting it,” he said.
Wan Shaharuddin added that the female pachyderm was most probably the leader of the herd.
“Upon seeing the leader dead, the herd ran amok and destroyed the other cabins in the area,” he explained.
It was reported that the female pachyderm, which weighed roughly two tonnes, received a 240 volt shock from the electricity supplied to the cabin.
The cabin, located around 100 metres away from the Seri Banding army camp, was being used by contractors who were carrying out repair works on the site of a recent landslide.
Malaysian Nature Society past president Prof Maketab Mohamed when contacted said the tragedy would become the norm due to the conflict between man and nature.
“Elephants are a regular feature along the Gerik to Jeli highway as the pachyderms are not scared of humans. They used to eat food wastes dumped in an illegal dump site along the highway,” he said.
The professor added that Elephants cross the highway regularly at many spots despite the presence of a wildlife viaduct, and explained that the incident would not have occurred if the Elephants had a place to go.
“Stopping all forest conversions would be good,” he quipped, adding that suitable habitats are rarer by the day as more forests being converted to other uses especially to oil palm plantations.