‘Cherry’ and friends miss visitors at PKGK


Mahuts guide their elephants to the National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah. — Bernama photo

TEMERLOH: ‘Cherry’ and friends are among a herd of elephants at the National Elephant Conservation Centre (PKGK) in Kuala Gandah, here, awaiting visitors after almost four months of not getting any following implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and the floods in Pahang.

It also meant four months of Cherry and friends, who include ‘Rambai’ and ‘Abot’, have not entertained the visitors with their performances during this period.

Kuala Gandah PKGK chief Muhammad Khairul Adha Mat Amin said the centre is now opened to the public since last Feb 22, but visitors will have to comply with the prescribed standard operating procedures (SOP).

Since inter-state and inter-district travel are still not allowed, he said, locals, especially residents in Lanchang and Temerloh, could visit PKGK and watch the performance by its inhabitants, thus helping to revive the state’s tourism sector.

Although the centre was closed for several months due to the MCO and the floods, the mahout or elephant trainer or keeper, continued to train the pachyderms, he added.

“It has become a routine for the mahout to train the elephants to maintain their fitness and skills.

“We really hope for visitors to come and see Cherry and her friends perform,” he told Bernama.

Muhammad Khairul Adha said visitors to the centre are encouraged to use the service of a tourist guide.

He said the fee for a tour guide is RM30 for a group of 10 people.

“The tourist guides consist of locals who work with PKGK to bring visitors to see and explain about the elephants and activities at Kuala Gandah …  they also ensure visitors comply with the stipulated SOPs,” he said, adding that visitors would also be given the opportunity to feed the elephants with watermelon, sugarcane and napier grass, as well as watch the pachyderm bathe in the river at the centre.

The 20-hectare PKGK houses 32 elephants which were named according to the location they were found. It is opened to visitors from 10.30am to 4.30pm daily.

Admission is free.

According to Muhammad Khairul Adha, the oldest elephant at the centre is 85-year-old ‘Loki Mala’ and the youngest is six-month-old ‘Kelaik’.

“We are planning to upgrade this place in stages, especially involving the elephant facility,” he added. — Bernama