Last year was a pretty sad one for the elephants in Sabah, as six of them were found dead.
The good news is, the Sabah state government took the threat seriously and began the efforts to come up with a 10-year conservation plan, which got approved recently.
The Sabah State Elephant Action Plan 2020-2029 has also received a RM20 million allocation, according to a Bernama report published in The Star Online.
There are about 1,500 and 2,000 elephants in Sabah right now, but rapid development and other factors are expected to affect the numbers.
What the state hopes to achieve with the plan
Dr Jamili Nais, permanent secretary of the Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, reportedly said the state worked with Sabah Wildlife Department and other conservation bodies to fulfil these objectives:
protecting elephants better and stop killings of the animals
enhancing habitat connectivity and permeability
ensuring best practices in the management and off-site conservation of elephants
researching, monitoring and predicting elephant population trends
How will the objectives be achieved?
There are several efforts that will be taken under the plan, including the setting up of an enforcement unit under the Wildlife Department.
Right now, the Wildlife Department can only monitor situations in the jungles, but have little to no authority to enforce the law in case they come across poachers or people harming animals and plants in the wild.
While the plan focuses mainly on the conservation of elephants, other animals such as the clouded leopard and proboscis monkey will also receive attention by those involved in the plan.
With the implementation of the 10-year plan, the Sabah state government believes that elephants in the state will never face the threat of extinction.
We hope so too! Let's see if the rest of the country can also take a leaf out of Sabah's books and get more serious about the conservation of our precious nature and wildlife.