KUALA LUMPUR: All parties must work together to protect and conserve the habitat of elephants which are categorised as fully protected species in the country, said Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.

Based on the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia's (Perhilitan) records, he said a total of 3,325 complaints on human-elephant conflict had been reported from 2015 to 2021, while as of June this year, a total of 435 similar complaints had been reported.

"The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources through Perhilitan views seriously the need to ensure the survival of elephants and is committed to intensifying the conservation efforts of elephants and their habitats," he said in a statement in conjunction with World Elephant Day celebration today.

There are two sub-species of elephants in Malaysia, namely Elephas maximus indicus which can be found in Peninsular Malaysia and Elephas maximus borneensis (pygmy elephant) which can be found in Sabah.

"It is estimated that there are between 1,220 and 1,680 elephants in seven states in the peninsula, namely Kedah, Perak, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.

Takiyuddin said based on this year's Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) report, Malaysia was identified as a Category B Party (markedly affected by illegal trade in ivory), a better position than in 2019 where Malaysia was in Category A Party (primary concern).

In an effort to protect the animal population, he said among the government's actions include strengthening the effectiveness of legislation by amending the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and implementing integrated enforcement to combat encroachment, illegal logging and wildlife hunting.

In addition, to deal with human-elephant conflict, among the efforts made include establishing elephant conservation centres in Pahang, Terengganu and Johor; and developing an Elephant Electric Fence System (SPEG).