Monday, July 14, 2008

Terenganu - Sungai Ketiar Elephant Sanctuary

Hmm.. my first post on the trip!

We started off Kuala Berang a bit late i.e. around 10 am.. me, Kimi, Hubby, mum and bro in law. I took the back seat so that Kimi can sit on his own (he's around 20kg now.. to heavy to carry all the way to Langkawi)..

We used the new East West highway crossing the Kenyir Lake to Gua Musang to Cameron Highland and expected to reach Penang around 6 pm. I've highlighted this trail a few time during my Cameron Trip in May but here I am going to highlight on Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary - got more pics he he he..

There are two baby elephants at the sanctuary - the female is named Suria (Sunlight).. I didn't venture to the male side cz the keeper said that it has a hot temper. Suria is sweet.

Particulars of Suria - she's 8 years old and captured at Setia, a state in Terengganu. She loves fruits. The keeper told me that she was abandoned by her herd when they captured her. The other male was found in a ditch where he couldn't get out off.

Snapped this pic of the little girl who struggling to get away from the elephant he he he.. can't take my own pic with Suria cz I was holding on to Kimi on one hand and busily snapping pics with the other hand. Had the opportunity to feed Suria with Keledek, the trunk is rough.. it looked soo soft before I touch it.. same goes with her hair - looked soft but actually its quite rough.

Here's a newsclip by Bernama on the sanctuary (published 19.6.08)

Elephant sanctuary, Lake Kenyir’s latest draw

HULU TERENGGANU, THURS: Tasik Kenyir, located some 70km from Kuala Terengganu, is among the world’s most majestic looking man-made lakes.

The some 380,000 hectares lake is a haven for nature lovers as well as anglers and those who are seeking fun and adventure.

Among the attractions there are waterfalls, caves, rivers, mountains and jungle trails. Water sports enthusiasts who love jet skiing, kayaking and canoeing would find the lake ideal for their activities.

However the lake has something else to offer. Tourists have began to arrive at the Sungai Ketiar elephant sanctuary since it was opened to the public last January 30.

Sandwiched between the National Park and Hulu Besut Forest Reserve and the Kelah (mahseer)sanctuary, the some 15,000 hectares jumbos’ sanctuary is the lake’s latest tourism draw.

OPERATING HOURS

The public can visit the sanctuary from 9am to 6pm daily, said its manager Zulkifli Ayob.

He said so far 8,800 people including 69 visitors have visited the sanctuary.

“The most number of visitors was on the last Labour Day, at 578 people.

Most of them were locals who were on their way to Tasik Kenyir and Cameron Highlands,” he said.

Zulkifli advised the visitors not to be alarmed if they come across a herd of elephants roaming in the area, particularly between 4.30am and 6.30am.

“For those who are driving through the area, please do not honk or shine the lights at the wild elephants. This would agitate the mammals, and that could make them dangerous,” he said.

CHALIL AND SURIA


There is a pair of trained elephants at the sanctuary, named ’Chalil’ and ’Suria’. Each jumbo is about eight years old.

Chalil is a bull elephant captured in Gua Musang, Kelantan in 2003 while Suria is a female jumbo ensnared in Bandar Permaisuri, Setiu in 2005.

According to Zulkifli, before being sent to the sanctuary, both elephants were trained at the National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah, Temerloh, Pahang.

“The elephants were moved here (Sungai Ketiar) one day before the sanctuary became operational,” said zulkifli, who is also the mahout for both elephants.

There are also four trained rangers to look after the two elephants.

FOOD

Zulkifli said, the monthly cost to feed the two elephants run up to RM2,000 and it is funded by the Terengganu state government via the State Economic Planning Unit UPEN).

“Suria and Chalil, which weighs at 1.5 tonnes and 1.3 tonnes respectively, need about 100kg of food daily. Bread for breakfast, sugar cane for lunch and fruits like water melons, papaya and potatoes while corn is for dinner,” he said.

He said the rangers would let Suria and Chalil roam in the nearby jungle once in every four days.

“This enables the mammals to familiarise themselves with the jungle surroundings and also help them to herd the wild jumbos in the area,” he said.

FUTURE PLANS

Meanwhile the Terengganu Wildlife Protection and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) Director Rozidan Md Yasin said the sanctuary is the first of such facility in the state and it is a joint project between the Terengganu government and Perhilitan.

“Perhilitan implements and monitor the project while the funding comes from the state government.

“As the project is still in its initial stages, visitors to the sanctuary are not charged any fees. However this may change in the future,” he said.

AWARENESS


Rozidan said the setting up of the sanctuary is a channel to boost the public awareness on the need to protect the wildlife.

“The wildlife has become victims to poachers who are out to get the high value of the animal parts,” he said.

Rozidan also called on all parties to work together to provide more awareness among the younger generation on the importance of protecting the wildlife in the country.

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