The research team spent five years GPS tracking 17 wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to find out whether they cross this road, how often and where, and to model how their movements are affected by the road. The findings of their research – Why did the elephant cross the road? The complex response of wild elephants to a major road in Peninsular Malaysia – have been published in the academic journal Biological Conservation. They say the results are relevant for landscapes throughout Asia and Africa, where existing or planned roads fragment elephant habitats.
In an increasingly human-dominated world there are few places left where large animals can live without coming into contact with people and the human footprint. Roads lead to the destruction of vital habitat and are a particular threat to megafauna – very large animals, such as elephants, that also need very large home ranges to fulfil their ecological needs.