Newswise — GENTING, MALAYSIA (December 3, 2013) -- The Malaysian National Elephant Conservation Action Plan was unveiled on November 27th.
The plan provides a focused conservation strategy that lays out specific actions for the next 10 years (2013¬-2022) with the overall goal of securing viable and ecologically functional elephant populations in Peninsular Malaysia for the next century and beyond. It was developed over an 18-month period involving focused group discussions, a major stakeholder workshop, and consolidating comments from various agencies and interested individuals.
The plan was officially launched at an event at the Awana Hotel by the Malaysian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and the Director-General of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), Dato Rasid Samsuddin, with the Director of Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Program, Dr. Melvin Gumal.
Dato Rasid Samsuddin said, “This plan is crucial as elephants need large ranges of native forests. This is especially so when Peninsular Malaysia is going through rapid development.”
Melvin Gumal said: “The Malaysian National Elephant Action Plan is a results-driven, adaptive action plan, founded on the commitment of the Malaysian government and its partners to save Peninsular Malaysia’s elephants.”
The Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks and the Wildlife Conservation Society were key collaborators developing the plan. With input from more than 60 people who participated in a national workshop in December 2012, the main authors are Drs Simon Hedges and Martin Tyson of WCS and En. Salman Saaban and Tuan Haji Nawayai Yasak.
Salman Saaban, one of the co-authors, said, “Elephant conservation needs engagement from all stakeholders particularly in land use planning. Besides that, scientific-based evidence is vital to help the Department in its planning.”
Said Hedges of WCS: “What was especially encouraging, when working with DWNP and the other stakeholders on the National Elephant Conservation Action Plan, was the wide acceptance of the need to focus on promoting human–elephant co-existence and the need, therefore, for new and creative approaches to reducing human–elephant conﬂict.”
Other significant contributors to the workshop were Gumal, Nasaruddin Othman of DWNP, and Dr. Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz of Nottingham University, Malaysia Campus. Among the important points in the plan: ensuring human ¬elephant coexistence; restoration and maintenance of socially and ecologically functional elephant population densities; an emphasis on keeping the present elephant range; treating the Central Forest Spine as Managed Elephant Ranges with appropriate zonation, and having an evidence-based adaptive management approach to elephant conservation and management.
The plan was developed within the Malaysian Government’s existing framework for environmental and biodiversity conservation. Specifically, the National Policy on Biological Diversity and National Policy on the Environment set the underlining principles, whilst the National Physical Plan laid out the spatial framework.