First female elephant collared at Segaliud Lokan Forest

The female elephant was collared in Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve by BCT, WRU and KTS staff.

KOTA KINABALU: A female elephant, estimated to be 25-35 years of age, was recently captured and successfully collared in the Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve before it was released back into its herd.

Raymond Alfred, Head of Conservation and Research in Borneo Conservation Trust, said the collaring, using the Iridium collar, was the first carried out by Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) and the Wildlife Rescue Unit of Sabah Wildlife Department, in collaboration with KTS Plantation Sdn. Bhd.

The female elephant ready to be released.

He said the 6.2 feet tall elephant had been nicknamed Segaliud, after the forest in which it was found, and she was observed to be physically healthy and was in lactation period with a calf around five-six months old.

“This collaring activity is one of the components of the Mega Biodiversity Corridor Programme initiated by BCT, which aims to enhance the forest ecosystem connectivity and ecological corridor within the key habitats of the Bornean elephant and orangutan in Sabah.

“The Mega Biodiversity Corridor will allow elephants and orangutan to safely migrate, access food sources and establish crucial genetic links between populations,” Raymond said in a statement, yesterday.

He said the elephant population in Kinabatangan (ranging from 290 to 310) is separated from the main population in the central forest of Sabah (including Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve) by the Sandakan – Lahad Datu main road.

Therefore, there is a need to develop a long-term action plan to address this issue, which may include land purchase, and the securing and restoration of riparian reserves to re-establish the vital wildlife corridors that link key habitats and protected areas.

“With this collaring, Segaliud will become the elephant herds’ ambassador to determine and confirm important corridors that will enable their migration further into Pin Supu Forest Reserve or from Lower Kinabatangan to Segaliud Lokan,” Raymond added.

Director of Sabah Wildlife Department Dr Laurentius Ambu said his department was working closely with BCT and its partners from the private sector – in this programme, KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd – to reinstate and maintain crucial elephant corridors across the north Borneo.

“Wildlife corridors offer one of the best long term solutions facing the endangered wild Bornean elephant,” Ambu added.

Sabah’s forests is home to the Bornean elephants in Borneo. However, years of intense development has led to fragmentation of their forest habitat.

In this regard, Alfred emphasised that the solution to forest habitat fragmentation lies in the creation of a network of wildlife corridors which link forest reserves (Segaliud Lokan FR) with each other (Pin Supu Forest Reserve).

The Segaliud Lokan and Pin Supu corridor is a 16,500 ha strip of land and represents a lifeline for at least 300 elephants in Lower Kinabatangan.

This area has also been identified as home to Sabah’s other treasured wildlife such as the orangutan, the clouded leopard, the sunbear and the banteng; ranking it high on the broader conservation agenda.

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