Borneo pygmy elephants depend for their survival on forests situated on flat, low lands and in river valleys, the study found. Unfortunately, it is also the type of terrain preferred for commercial plantations. Over the past four decades, 40 percent of the forest cover of the Malaysian State of Sabah, on the northeast of the Island of Borneo – where most of pygmy elephants are – has been lost to logging, conversion for plantations and human settlement.
“The areas that these elephants need to survive are the same forests where the most intensive logging in Sabah has taken place, because flat lands and valleys incur the lowest costs when extracting timber,” said Raymond Alfred, Head of WWF-Malaysia’s Borneo Species Programme.
“However, the Malaysian government’s commitment to retain extensive forest habitat throughout central Sabah, under the “Heart of Borneo” agreement, should ensure that the majority of the herds have a home in the long term,” Alfred added.
This study, the largest using satellite collars ever attempted on Asian elephants, suggests that pygmy elephants prefer lowland forests because there is more food of better quality on fertile lowland soils.
But the study also shows that elephants’ movements are noticeably affected by human activities and forest disturbance. Data gathered so far reveals there are probably not more than 1,000 pygmy elephants left in Sabah – less than the 1,600 or so estimated previously.
And, one important area for the elephants, the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, may be too small and too fragmented to support a viable population for the long term, according to the report.
Five pygmy elephants were darted and outfitted with collars two years ago by the Sabah Wildlife Department with WWF assistance, after tracking the elephants on foot through the dense jungle was found too difficult over long periods. The collars sent GPS locations to a WWF computer via satellite as often as once a day. This was the first long-term study done of Borneo pygmy elephants.
“It’s amazing that we still know so little about one of the biggest land mammals on Earth,” said Matthew Lewis, program officer for WWF’s Species Conservation Program. “The only reason we now have a good understanding of where these elephants travel from day to day is because satellite collar technology has given us access to the most inaccessible forests on Borneo.”
The information provided by the research might also help predict locations where elephants and farms may come into future conflict.
While pygmy elephants can live in logged and secondary forests, it is crucial that their remaining habitat is managed sustainably and not converted into plantations, WWF says. Logging in elephant habitat should only take place if there is a long-term forest management plan in place, and oil palm plantations should be established on degraded, non-forested land devoid of elephants and orangutans, according to the conservation organization.
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences