This post was originally published on March 26, 2018 and updated on January 22, 2020.

Gardeners worldwide share many of the same aggravating experiences. For example, missing out on fresh lettuce or berries because neighborhood deer or birds have beaten you to them, or losing a garden bed for the season because a mother bunny is using that space to raise her babies. Now imagine if your neighborhood wildlife was seven-to-ten feet tall and weighed up 10,000 pounds! In the Malaysian state of Sabah, Bornean elephants roam the habitat. The Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund helps protect these majestic animals, most recently, by the opening of the Borneo Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary.

Protecting these creatures is a big job, involving several different organizations. That’s why the Malaysian government has a national action plan to coordinate the efforts needed to protect these elephants. The goal is to have elephants and humans co-exist in the landscape. The Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks, with help from the Wildlife Conservation Society, has developed special elephant corridors that link protected lands. These natural areas allow the elephants to move easily between forests in search of food. More than 50 percent of the Malaysia’s land is protected forests.

If an elephant wanders into the wrong area, such as a populated area or plantation, the Wildlife Rescue Unit moves the animal back to protected lands. The Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund worked with the wildlife department to establish this organization which supports conservation efforts along with rescuing endangered wildlife. Their highly trained rangers have completed more than 100 rescue or translocation operations.

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When the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) learned that some elephants needed special care, they initiated the concept of the world’s first pygmy elephant sanctuary with the Sabah wildlife department. This natural-habitat refuge, staffed with six keepers, will fulfill all the needs of the endangered animals. MPOC deputy chief executive officer Dr. Kalyana Sundrum said, “I’m proud we were able to accomplish this. Now the elephants can be safely transported and cared for.”

Director of Sabah Wildlife Datuk Laurentius Ambu said, “We are sincerely grateful to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council for being the major and prime funder of the mega conservation project, and sharing Sabah Wildlife Department’s vision in wildlife conservation.”

You can help the elephants by buying the Back to Basics Malaysian cuisine cookbook. All proceeds are donated to the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund to help keep Borneo’s amazing pygmy elephants safe as well as fund several other wildlife conservation initiatives.

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