World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12, but in Malaysia there’s always a strong focus on elephant conservation. That became even clearer during this year’s Biodiversity Forum 2016, an even jointly organized by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) and Department of National Parks, Peninsular Malaysia. During the forum, an international group of attendees learned of the many actions and initiatives that Malaysia is taking to help protect these magnificent creatures.

There are an estimated 1,223 to 1,677 elephants living in Peninsular Malaysia, with another 2,500 living in Sabah. MPOC is heavily involved with many measures to ensure their numbers remain strong. Discussion during the Biodiversity Forum included a case study presentation about the Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU), established under the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund in collaboration with Sabah Wildlife Department. The WRU helps to rescue and relocate Bornean elephants. The WRU also aids in research, public awareness, human-wildlife conflict reduction and enforcement activities. As of 2015, WRU has successfully relocated 175 Bornean elephants.

MPOC is a major and primary Borneo Elephant Sanctuary funder, and has pledged five million Malaysian ringgits from its Wildlife Conservation Fund for the sanctuary, where injured or orphaned elephants are rehabilitated and then released back into the wild.

Forum attendees were also introduced to the Malaysian government’s National Elephant Conservation Action Plan (NECAP). It was initiated back in 2013 as a way to help elephants roam freely in this habitat. In addition to protecting the elephants’ habitat successfully, NECAP’s actions also create more stringent law enforcement, and work to minimize human-elephant conflicts. The NECAP team includes the Malaysian Elephant Alliance, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants.

With its aggressive wildlife conservation strategies, Malaysia is nurturing its functional forest ecosystem. According to the Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants, elephants are considered mega-gardeners. Elephants are eating machines, and naturally disperse the seeds from their fruity diets through their waste.

The world demand for sustainably sourced palm oil increases every day, and Malaysia is a leader in sustainable practices. Malaysia works hard to protect its vibrant ecosystem so future generations can enjoy it.

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