Aku tekad seminggu untuk bermukim di Kuala Gandah. Selama tempoh itu aku turut bertugas sebagai tenaga sukarelawan di pusat pemuliharaan gajah di situ.
Hari pertama bertugas, aku agak kekok kerana ini adalah pengalaman pertama aku berhadapan dengan gajah.
Seawal pagi lagi aku di tempat gajah jinak, melihat para petugas di situ membersihkan dan memberi makan gajah, aku turut membersih kawasan di situ.
Kemudian aku ke tempat gajah denak yang diberi nama Mek dan Bunga untuk menghantar dan memberi makanan kepada dua ekor gajah yang agak penting peranannya di pusat itu. Mek dan Bunga adalah gajah yang ditugaskan dalam operasi menangkap gajah-gajah liar.
KUALA GANDAH ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
The elephant sanctuary is located near Lanchang (there is a small road heading north, just before a BP station), then left at the next intersection. From this point on just head due north and there are enough signposts to guide you. It's in the center of Peninsular Malaysia. About 150 km or no more than 2 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur.
The sanctuary is managed by the Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks. This centre was established in 1989. It offers visitors a hands-on introduction to the largest mammal on earth. Worker elephants are trained to help "guide and mother' others during the relocation process to National Park wildlife sanctuaries. Visitors are invited to help bath them in the shallow river or ride them. The juniors have sense of humour, so watch out for a dunking as you try to clamber up their backs!
A base for the Elephant Relocation Team which started in 1974. Being the only centre in Malaysia, the team is dedicated to locating, subduing, translucent problem elephants from areas where their habitats are constantly being encroached by plantations, to Malaysia's National Parks such as Taman Negara. Over the past 25 years the team has successfully relocated around 400 elephants to national parks, bringing the wild elephant population in Malaysia from an alarming low of 500 to about 1200 (2003).
The primary role of the 'Translocation Team' at the centre, is to capture wild elephants that are encroaching on plantations or population centres and to relocate them to national parks.When a wild elephant is found to be encroaching on farms or population centers, the Elephant Translocation Team is called out. Their first task is to track the wild elephant and tranquilize it, a job that can take days or even weeks.
Once the elephant is tranquilized, the next challenge is to move a huge, groggy and generally uncooperative animal out of the jungle and onto a waiting truck. This is when the team relies on their two 50-year-old translocation elephants, Chek Mek and Mek Bunga, to lead the wild elephant out.Mentompian, a 26-year-old female from Burma, and Abot, a teenage female from Johor, are both being trained to replace the 2 aging elephants.
Without the help of translocation elephants, it would be impossible to get the wild elephant out of the jungle. The two elephants position themselves on either side of the captured elephant while the team attaches chains around its shoulders.
Chek Mek and Mek Bunga then slowly and safely move the captured elephant out of the jungle and onto a waiting truck. The captured elephant is taken by road, and then often by barge, to one of a number of protected natural areas where it is set free.
If you're lucky enough to get over there, the guides make every effort to allow visitors to ride and bathe these wonderful mammals.
Make an early visit to enter the compound of the elephants and roam with them while looking closely at their habits - but only with the Elephant Man - the very own elephant expert. Hiring the Elephant Man means that the fees you pay for his services, first hand experience and knowledge means, that you will help him continue his volunteering services during his free time for the 14th year!All activities begin at 2.15pm.
If you head for the sanctuary on your own, or with a tour guide but with the Elephant Man - its really up to you when and what you'd like to be there and do!Save the Rainforests...and you save the flagship.
To Get Kuala Gandah in Temerloh, Pahang is about 200 km from Kuala Lumpur.
By Road : From Kuala Lumpur, take the Karak Highway, turn left into Lanchang and turn right into Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre.
By Rail : KTM Bhd provides service to Bandar Jengka and Jerantut.
By Bus : A Sri Jengka Express - Kuala Lumpur (Jalan Tun Razak) to Bandar Jengka, Kuantan to Bandar Jengka, Kota Baru to Bandar Jengka, Alor Star to Bandar Jengka.
To do here - Ride the elephant . Feed the elephant. Bath with elephant