Why did the elephant cross the road? In Malaysia they are trying to find the answer.

The body of an elephant calf lies on the side of a remote highway in the north of Peninsular Malaysia – the East-West Highway is flanked by two wildlife refuges, Royal Belum State Park and the Temengor Forest Reserve. It is stories like this in the Malaysian media that are of increasing concern to wildlife experts. They highlight the growing difficulty of human-elephant coexistence.

As economic development forges ahead in Peninsular Malaysia so do the dangers to the country’s wildlife.

For five years, researchers from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) have been GPS tracking 17 wild Asian elephants to find out whether they cross this road, how often and where, and to model how their movements are affected by the road

This week, the research – ‘Why did the elephant cross the road? The complex response of wild elephants to a major road in Peninsular Malaysia’ – was published in the academic journal Biological Conservation.

A team of wildlife conservationists at UNMC and other partner institutions have now called to avoid any further expansion of the East-West Highway. They also want to see a reduction in and the enforcement of speed limits as well as considering a limit on traffic volumes at night.

Read more about the research on the University of Nottingham news website.

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