GUA MUSANG, Nov 19 — A nine-month-old baby was huddled among a crowd of more than 70 Orang Asli villagers who ran for their lives, helter-skelter, when a wild elephant invaded Kampung Kelaik, Pos Blau, on Thursday.

One of the Temiar tribe inhabitants, Uda Busu, 42, said the adult elephant appeared for the first time on Wednesday and raided their crops and subsequently the behemoth resurfaced at about 5pm a day later, (Thursday) dramatically close to a group of children who were playing among the houses.

According to Uda, the frantic folk from all 24 houses in the village then fled en masse towards the Gua Musang-Lojing road.

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“All of us abandoned the village and took refuge by the road side because we were worried the elephant could get temperamental and might injure us.

“We waited by the side of the road for hours until we were absolutely sure the wild beast had vanished into the forest and only then did we return to the village at about 3 am. When we reached home, there was leftover food and pans from two houses scattered on the ground, likely from the elephant rampaging through kitchens scavenging for food,” said Uda when contacted by reporters today.

Following this scare from the otherwise gentle giant, the village head of Pos Blau, Salleh Angah, 60, fervently hoped that the Department of Wildlife Protection and National Parks (Perhilitan) will be proactive to ‘guarantee’ the safety of villagers after this harrowing human-wildlife conflict.

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“We hope perhilitan will take decisive long-term action because in all likelihood, this elephant will stray into another village.

“Previously, there were also elephants appearing on the road leading to Pos Blau. If possible, we want the authorities to drive the mammal deeper into the jungle and not invade any village again,” he said.

Meanwhile, a trunk call to Kelantan director of Perhilitan Mohamad Hafid Rohani confirmed that he had received a report regarding the latest rumble with wildlife. — Bernama