Christina repeats call for cooperation of oil palm plantations


KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew reiterated her clarion call to all oil palm plantations which are within the home range of any elephant herd to work very closely with the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD).

She said such cooperation is vital so that elephant deaths as a result of possible poisoning can be greatly reduced or even avoided in times to come.

“I am extremely saddened by the latest elephant death which is the sixth recorded this year. I appeal to all oil palm plantations in Sabah experiencing elephant entry to take every step to avoid using any chemical that can cause grievous harm to elephants. There is an urgent need to really stop the death of elephants caused by possible poisoning from continuing,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Christina, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, was referring to the five-10-year-old female elephant which was found dead at Ladang KUB (Kesatuan Usaha Bersatu) near the Malua Forest Reserve in Kinabatangan on April 8. According to her, no external injuries were found on the elephant and poisoning is suspected to be the cause of death, although a toxicology test is yet to be conducted on samples taken from its internal organs.

“I understand that plantations experiencing the frequent entry of elephants are already adopting the principle of harmonious co-existence with elephants by allowing free movement of elephants into their plantations. This is in accordance with the recommendation outlined in the Elephant Action Plan 2020-2029.
“I really appreciate such co-operation in line with the State’s conservation efforts and to enable the elephants to move freely within their home range,” she said.

However, Christina asserted that more could be done to considerably reduce the number of elephant deaths by making sure that the elephants do not accidentally consume any hazardous materials when foraging within the plantations.