Malaysia: Last large population of SE Asian elephants found in Taman Negara National Park

A population of 631 Asian elephants has been documented in Malaysia’s
Taman Negara National Park, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society
(WCS). The population may be the largest in Southeast Asia. Scientists
from WCS and Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks
(DWNP) counted elephant dung piles to estimate the protected area’s
population size. There were no previous scientific population surveys
for elephants in the park.

“The surveys reveal the importance of Taman
Negara in protecting wildlife especially those species that need large
home ranges. DWNP will continue to safeguard this national park, which
is the crown jewel of Malaysia’s protected areas system. The numbers
of elephants is testament to the importance of the park in protecting
wildlife,” said Dato’ Rasid, Director-General of the Department of
Wildlife and National Parks. “This new survey shows that Taman Negara
National Park is one of the great strongholds for Asian elephants in
Southeast Asia,” added Dr. Melvin Gumal, Director of the Wildlife
Conservation Society’s conservation programs in Malaysia. “People were
unsure of how many elephants lived in the park before our survey,
although there were good reasons to think that the population was
substantial.” Taman Negara is one of Peninsular Malaysia’s most
popular destinations for ecotourists. Located a half-day away from the
capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Taman Negara contains one of the world’s
oldest rainforests—dating back 130 million years—and supports a rich
array of species, including tiger, leopard, tapir, sumatran rhino,
dhole, several kinds of monkeys, and 350 types of birds. Asian
elephants are endangered due to habitat loss and poaching. According
to WCS, between 30,000 and 50,000 remain in 13 Asian countries.

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Comments (1)

JinApril 18th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I wish they would just leave them alone sometimes. They deserve freedom too.

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