rwm 2019 homepqge button

Flood expo button

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 10:50

Elephant's crossing the road is researched in Malaysia

Roads like the East-West Highway, a remote highway in the north of Peninsular Malaysia, can pose huge challenges for landscape connectivity and the movement of wildlife. Research on how this road affects elephant movements has led to calls from a team of wildlife conservationists at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) and other partner institutions to avoid any further expansion of this road. They also want to see a reduction in and the enforcement of speed limits as well as considering a limit on traffic volumes at night.

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.