JOHOR BAHRU: The construction of a 100-hectare elephant sanctuary in Kota Tinggi, which will be home to around 30 elephants, is expected to be completed and fully operational by next year.
Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director Jamalun Nasir Ibrahim said construction work, which began in the middle of last year, is about halfway complete.
“We expect the sanctuary to be completed and become operational by next year,” said Jamalun Nasir, although he declined to reveal the exact date for the completion.
The sanctuary is located along Jalan Lombong in Kota Tinggi, near the Kota Tinggi waterfalls.
”The project will cost about RM15 million in total. It is a joint project between the Federal and state governments,” said Jamalun Nasir.
He said the exact number of elephants which can be housed at the sanctuary have not been finalised yet.
“However, we expect between 20 to 30 elephants can be housed at the sanctuary.”
The proposal to establish the sanctuary was first mooted in 2014 as an effort to reduce the conflict between wild elephants and humans. It will also serve as a tourism attraction for nature lovers.
Former state Health, Environment, Information and Education Executive Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat had previously said that Johor’s forests are home to about 140 wild elephants, with the majority of them in Segamat, Kluang, Mersing and Kota Tinggi.
Ayub also said that between 2008 and May last year, state Perhilitan had transferred 48 wild elephants out of Kluang, with each transfer process costing about RM50,000. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd