A baby elephant has been discovered dead on a Malaysian highway after itwas apparently killed by a vehicle.State park officials who found the carcass said such incidents "do nothappen very often".
Environmentalists said increasing habitat destruction has forced wildelephants closer to the East-West Highway, which links north-east Kelantanstate to the rest of Malaysia.Officials have urged drivers to be "extra careful" when using the highway.
"We have already erected signboards to notify motorists that there would beelephant crossings along the stretch of the highway," said Loo Kean Seong,director of the Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks."So they need to be more responsible, especially when they are driving lateat night or early in the morning.
"Kuala Lumpur-based conservation group, the Management, and Ecology of theMalaysian Elephants (MEME) group, came across the dead elephant on Friday."We believe this baby died very fast, it was hit on its head and its familywas no longer there by the time we arrived," said Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz.
"Wild elephants have already lost so much of their forests and more of themare coming out to roads to find food like grass, palm trees, and bamboo."They are also spending more time hanging around roads," he said, addingthat lower speed limits should be enforced and more street lights should beinstalled.
"As Malaysia develops, it needs to compromise. Especially in this landscapewhich houses one of the most important forests in South East Asia.Elephants need to roam freely and safely."The incident raised emotions and drew anger on social media.
Many Malaysians expressed sadness for wildlife in their country coming intoincreasing contact with people, due to loss of forests."I want to know how a person can even miss seeing such a big creature,"wrote a Facebook user from the capital, Kuala Lumpur, speculating that thedriver may have been drunk or speeding."No decency of whatsoever to even have stopped and stayed with the deadbaby elephant or at least to report it."