GUA MUSANG (Kelantan): Farmers from four Orang Asli settlements in Pos Belatim are grappling with the destructive incursions of wild elephants which are damaging and eating their crops.
They claim that the animals were roaming in Kampung Chemal, Kampung Cacuh, Kampung Kajak, and Kampung Kenben, and that they could be from the same herd that had rampaged farms in Kampung Chemal a week ago.
Some of the villagers fear that the elephants could target their homes after having foraged for food in the farms located several metres away.
Rahimi Dollah, 44, a farmer from the Temiar community in Kampung Kajak, told Bernama the animals first appeared on Nov 26 and have been returning every night since to destroy and eat his sugarcane, tapioca, banana, and vegetables.
“My farm is just 300 metres from my house. I fear that these elephants may wander to our houses next,” he said through a WhatsApp message.
Kamal Pedik, 45, a resident of Kampung Cacuh, said his farm located about 500 metres from Kampung Kajak had also come under attack from the elephants which uprooted his tapioca and banana plants.
“Several of us farmers were shocked at what had happened to our farms. Even young coconut palms had been brought down. There goes our food supply for this wet season,” he said.
Kamal said the farmers had reported the matter to the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan).
JAKOA Kelantan and Terengganu Director Zarina Razlan, when contacted by Bernama, acknowledged getting a report on the matter and expressed the hope that Perhilitan would take the appropriate action.
“Perhilitan has done its best in cases of wildlife attacks in the past, and we have cooperated well with them,” she said, adding that JAKOA would also expedite aid in the form of food baskets to the affected villagers. -Bernama