Elephant enters Sabah school hostel

An elephant enters the school hostel’s dining hall.

TELUPID: The conflict between man and elephant continues when a Borneo Pygmy elephant entered the dining hall of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Telupid’s hostel, wandering for a few minutes at around 1.45am today (Thursday).

No student was harmed during the incident as the dining hall was empty at the time.

Wildlife Department personnel were also called to stay guarded at the school for 24 hours.

According to the school principal, Rukimin Sulit, before the elephant entered the dining hall, it was eating a palm tree that was planted as part of the school’s landscape outside the hall.

He said that the school’s security guard was cautious and waited for the elephant to go out of the building itself.

“This is the first time that an elephant had entered a building. However, around six elephants had been wandering around the school compound since February 17. Personnel from the Wildlife Department had taught us that we should not provoke the elephants and avoid them or gently hush them away instead.

“The elephants do not pose any threats to the humans when it is not disturbed, so it is safe. School is on-going as usual as they (elephants) are here only to eat the trees that we had planted, and do not disturb the students,” he added.

Rukimin said that the elephants entered the school compound by stomping over the six-foot tall fences surrounding the school. He said that about 40 metres of the fences are now destroyed.

He  also said that the school had made application to the Education Department for funds to fix the fence.

SMK Telupid currently has 1,349 students with 395 of them staying in the hostel.

Since early this year, about 20 elephants had been spotted around Telupid in which villagers were affected when the elephants destroyed their properties and crops.

Villages that were affected include Kampung Liningkung, Kampung Bauto, Kampung Gambaron, Kampung Telupid, and Telupid town.

According to the Director of Wildlife Department (Sabah), Augustine Tuuga, the elephants were the same ones sent to the Deramakot Forest Reserve, located some 30 kilometres from Telupid, in early 2017, but had made their way back to Telupid.

He said since their return, a total of four elephants were captured, including a mother and baby elephants.

The department had put satellite collar on one of the captured elephants to monitor its movement on Tuesday, while the other three elephants are in the process to be sent to Imbak Forest Reserve, about 100 kilometres away from Telupid.

“This time we send the elephants further away in hope that the elephants would not return. It is an expensive procedure as it costs about RM30,000 to relocate one elephant.

by Rebecca Chong.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2018/03/01/elephant-enters-sabah-school-hostel/

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