The Borneo pygmy elephant known as Elephas maximus borneensis is a small elephant inhabiting, tropical rainforest in Sabah and deep inside the forest of north Kalimantan. Just recently in Kota Kinabatangan Sabah, travellers was introduced to the pygmy elephants up close and personal for the very first time in his life.
Their journey started off with a boat ride along the river from Kampung Skau. Making a turn down the streams, the guide gave a signal. He flapped his hand by his ears and smiled.
“There are some elephants further down ahead. We may be able to see them eating by the bank before it gets dark”, said the boatman, who was in his early 20s.
According to the records of WWF, the size of these pygmy elephants is no larger than the normal size an African elephant. They grow up to 9.8 feet and that is about 3.0 meters, while the female can grow up to the size of less than 8.2 feet and that is about 2.5 meters. These elephants, are smaller, have longer tails and ears than the ordinary elephants.
The Borneo Island is the third’s world largest island on the earth is the home to most of these small adorable baby faces looking elephants. These elephants are unlike any other ordinary elephants. They lived in areas with minerals and salt waters. As gentle as they look and less harmless to humans, conflicts may occur if they were to live in crowded areas with humans.
Due to modern development, these elephants are now facing threats of extinctions.
Deforestation such as lumber activities and oil palm plantations are the cause of their habitats to become threatened.
Conservationists groups such as the WWF (World Wide Funds) are working hand in hand with local wildlife agencies to set up sanctuaries in suitable habitats in the heart of Borneo.
A few meters away from their travel distance, they heard the elephants were making loud noises from the river.
Pygmy elephants have been classified as the smallest elephant in the world. The males grow less than 2.5 meters in height while the female is about 2.9 meters in height. Most elephants are always well known for stomping and killing nearby villagers. But these adorable little pygmy elephants, they are harmless to humans. They do not act violently in the presence of humans. Instead, they are known to be gentle and friendly.
Despite for their small size, gentleness and harmless nature, the male elephants have straight tusks just like the other types of elephant species. What makes it more interesting the pygmy elephants can be mistaken as the dwarf species type of elephants for those who have never seen a pygmy.
As the traveller stayed there a little longer, they managed to catch a sigh. One female elephant decided to take a dip not too far away from her pack. The rest of them grazed fresh grass by the side of a river slope. Another unique nature of elephants they do not leave their members behind. If one member is strayed away, he or she is always welcome to join in with other packs.
Due to its small size, pygmy elephants need to consume at least 200 kg of food every day.
If lowland forest are converted into oil palm plantations, farms, settlements, and factories, pygmy elephants will be losing their food chain and can resulted to extinction in the near future.