‘Great loss’: A three-month-old elephant calf attempts to wake its mother; one of ten pygmy elephants found dead in Malaysia’s Sabah state. — AFP/File A car that was driving down a major highway in Malaysia was trampled by a herd of wild elephants after it struck a baby elephant from the group, as per the local police on Monday.
Police in Gerik, on the Malay Peninsula, released a statement stating that a 48-year-old man, his wife, and their 23-year-old son were driving the white Perodua Axia automobile.
Around 7.35pm local time on Sunday, the three-member family was travelling on a major highway from the island of Penang to the northeastern coastal state of Terengganu when it collided with the elephant calf.
According to Gerik Police, it was raining and misty at the time, and the automobile was “negotiating a left bend on the highway” when it collided with the young elephant.
“The car slammed into the young elephant that was walking on the road with the herd,” said Zulkifli Mahmood, Chief Superintendent of Gerik District Police. The calf fell to the ground upon impact, he added.
“Seeing this, the other (five) elephants rushed towards the car and started trampling it.”
The herd then left the area after the calf “got back up,” Mahmood said, reported CNN.
A herd of six endangered wild elephants trampled a car at KM 55 of Malaysia’s East-West Highway on Sunday November 26, 2023. — Royal Malaysia Police The Gerik Police statement did not clarify whether the three family members were inside the automobile at the time of the event, but it did state that there were no reported fatalities or significant injuries.
The white car’s side doors were caved in, and the front and sides had significant damage, according to the photos that were given. Every window was likewise broken.
Regarding the status of the elephant infant, the authorities withheld any more information.
According to conservationists, wild elephants on the Malaysian Peninsula have lost a significant amount of forest cover due to the country’s fast highway expansion, which has forced many of them to go on roadways in search of food.
Due to the recent collision, the Gerik police advised vehicles to drive more cautiously on the roadways because the region is frequently frequented by herds of elephants.
Many routes in the country, especially in the north, have signs alerting vehicles about elephant crossings, yet accidents have nonetheless happened.
According to the elephant conservation organisation Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME), a newborn elephant was found dead on the side of the road in 2017. It was presumably killed by a car that was thought to have been speeding.
Numerous roads have reportedly reported further elephant encounters.
A lone adult elephant was seen strolling down a roadway in the Gerik region in May 2022. Social media videos showed the elephant strolling past confused vehicles.
2020 saw an adult elephant in distress stomp on a car that was using the same highway as the most recent event. The elephant was reportedly startled by many cars honking at it, according to the local officials at the time.