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Teacher who filmed mother-baby elephants’ drama was at the right place and time
Published on: Wednesday, July 10, 2024
By: Syakilla Maarof
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Teacher who filmed mother-baby elephants’ drama was at the right place and time
Darmin caught this mother-baby elephant on camera.
Kota Kinabalu: Teacher Darmin Ladiro captured a touching scene of maternal care in the wild at Felda Umas, recently.

As he was about to leave for home, Darmin noticed a mother elephant gently nudging her reluctant calf towards the forest.

The calf, eager to continue playing and exploring a nearby river, resisted.

“It was as if the mother was telling her baby that playtime was over and it was time to return,” said Darmin, a 50-year-old teacher at Sekolah Kebangsaan Umas-Umas in Tawau who posted the video on his TikTokaccount @DR_Min.

Unable to resist the sight, he grabbed his camera to document the tender interaction.

Darmin noted that sightings of Sabah’s iconic Bornean elephants, also known as pygmy elephants, have become more frequent over the past seven years. 

He attributed this to ongoing palm oil tree replanting, which forces the elephants to venture out in search of food.

“They often eat the edible palm heart, which is also a delicacy for humans,” he said.

Recalling a significant sighting in 2018, Darmin described seeing a herd of about 30 elephants, both adults and calves, walking along the Kalabakan road, attempting to cross back into the forest. 

“The road had divided what used to be their habitat,” he said.

In response to the increased sightings, authorities installed signboards to warn motorists to slow down when driving through the area.

The pygmy elephant has recently been listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, with only about 1,000 individuals remaining globally.

Of these, only 400 are breeding adults.  

The pygmy elephant is primarily found in Sabah, with a small population in Kalimantan.

The IUCN has called for urgent conservation efforts to protect these genetically unique elephants.

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