WCS 3-Sentence Science

Hope and Challenges for Malaysia’s Elephants

May 31, 2019

Credit: WCS

Each year, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists publish more than 300 peer-reviewed studies and papers. “WCS 3-Sentence Science” is a regular tip-sheet — in bite sized helpings — of some of this published work.

Here we present the WCS Malaysia Country Director Melvin Gumal’s elephant conservation work:

  1. Conservationists conducted population surveys of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to inform wildlife management policy and practices for the National Elephant Conservation Action Plan for Peninsular Malaysia where elephants are sometimes translocated to mitigate human/elephant conflict (HEC).
  2. Using dung count surveys, they estimated 135 elephants living in a 2,500 square kilometer area — a population of national significance, containing possibly the second largest elephant population in Peninsular Malaysia, and with effective management elephant numbers could probably double.
  3. They found that the population cannot sustain even very low levels of removal for translocation, so alternative approaches to HEC must be used including better law enforcement to protect elephants and their habitat; maintenance of habitat connectivity; and a new focus on adaptive management.

Study and Journal: “Viability and management of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) population in the Endau Rompin landscape, Peninsular Malaysia” from PeerJ Preprints
WCS Co-Author(s): Melvin Gumal , WCS Malaysia Program

For more information, contact: Stephen Sautner, 718–220–3682, ssautner@wcs.org.