Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Bulldozer Of The Forest (森林里的堆土机)
I seldom go into forest nowadays after stumbling too often over elephants. These enamels often come out in a herd of 5 to 6 and if any one member of the herd feels agitated and threatened; my life flies for the whole herd can charge head on towards me ironing out almost all vegetation in between. For those frequent jungle hikers, they would know that it is exceedingly difficult to move about in a tropical forest; moreover, to run in a dense forest environment. A 5-ton elephant can already cause a lot of damage!
My pal, Ah Seng resides in Sauk, Kuala Kangsar owns a piece of oil palm plantation. We used to go into the forest together to search for medicinal plants. When I visited him during 2005 wanting to invite him to enter the forest; he declined and he told me he dared not after a foreign worker was stampeded to death by a herd of wild elephant. This news was known only amongst the locals only and it is never published in news.
It was said that earlier on, a herd of wild elephants barged into Ah Seng’s oil palm plantation to find food. After devouring a great amount of oil palm seeds and created a lot of damages; two of the smaller elephants felt thirsty and proceeded to a barrel of weed killer to quench their thirst. Normally the barrel would be covered but the plantation worker might have forgotten somehow.
Just as when the elephants were about to leave, two young elephants collapsed onto the ground and died. The other elephants tried to revive those two but they laid motionlessly as if logs. Realising two of their young ones were dead, the elephants trumpeted and the sound shook the plantation. As per norm, those elephants stood guard of the elephant carcases and refused to leave.
Some foreign workers who stayed in the oil palm plantation came out to investigate after hearing the commotion. Perhaps condition would not have worsen if everyone just kept quiet and contacted the wildlife department. As we all know, most foreign workers are normally oblivious of how to handle wild animals. So some of those workers started to shout at the elephants and some started to throw stones at them. That certainly had angered the alpha male elephant and it started to charge towards those workers. What else, the workers dispersed and ran for their lives. Unfortunately, one of the worker tripped and fell. In a split of a second, the male elephant was over this poor guy and without hesitation, it rose its front feet and crushed him to death…
While conservationists want to conserve elephants, most of the farmers don’t. The reason is very simple: wild elephants cause a lot of damage to their cash crops. Three months’ hard work could be destroyed overnight; and that translates to invested money loss. No one likes to see his/her hard earned money flies away including you. Maybe it is time for us to think if it is that the ‘human’ we want to conserve; or it is in fact the ‘elephant’ we would like to conserve. Personally, I don’t believe both of the men and wild animals can coexist. Once you come face to face with an elephant ran amok; perhaps the only thought in your mind would be saving your precious ‘life’…