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13 February, 2010

Kuala Gandah elephant centre to be world-class


TEMERLOH: The Government plans to turn the National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah here into a world-class facility which will also focus on eco-tourism.

A total of RM13mil has been set aside to turn it into a learning, research and reference centre.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said the programmes and activities carried out at the centre had proven to be successful.

“The centre is not only a facility that manages elephant translocation and conservation programmes, it also organises activities to promote public awareness on the plight of elephants,’’ he added.

The three-hectare centre is located within the Krau Wildlife Reserve area, and sprawls over 60,000ha.

“The land is sufficient to be a roaming ground for elephants, has a lot of potential in eco-tourism and is also rich in biodiversity,’’ he said after visiting the area here yesterday.

Uggah noted that the importance of the Kuala Gandah centre as a roaming area for elephants had been curtailed due to development, and that human-animal conflicts had been on the rise.

To a question, the minister said some of the methods used in the translocation programme were stressful to the animals and should be reviewed. Uggah said a total of 158,000 people visited the centre last year, including 30,500 foreigners.

“Our target is to increase the number to 500,000. Although this place is about 110km from Kuala Lumpur, it is easily accessible.’’

-- The Star --



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