Things to do when you encounter elephants on the road

In conjunction with World Elephant’s Day today (Aug 12, 2022), WWF-Malaysia is sharing tips on what to do when you encounter herd of elephants.

To date, there are less than 1,500 Bornean elephants in the wild. The species is constantly facing with numerous threats to their existence.

Every day, they face threats arising from human-elephant conflict and poachers whose snares intended for smaller animals trap the elephants instead, loss of habitat where areas that they utilise – typically referred to as elephant ranges – are converted into agriculture plantations, settlements and roads.

Elephants are a social species and are known to travel in groups called herds. They move in search of food and shelter. The routes that they take are knowledge and experience that are passed down from generation to generation. Even when those routes convert from their habitat into our roads, elephants will still journey through.

For the road users in parts of Sabah, the sight of elephants crossing is not new. Elephants are known to forage along roads where grasses grow abundantly.

With that, here are the 7 Road Safety Awareness You Should Adhere to When Encountering an Elephant

1.       Stop your vehicle and give way to the passing elephants.

2.      Don’t attempt to get down from the vehicle to take close-up photos of the elephants.

3.      Maintain a safe distance of at least 50m between yourself and the elephants at all times.

4.      Don’t panic when encountering an elephant. Keep calm and wait until they have passed.

5.      Don’t feed the elephants. They will come to associate people with food and may approach vehicles more frequently in the future.

6.      Don’t honk at the elephants. Loud sounds may startle or agitate them.

7.      Dim your car lights if you happen to encounter the elephants on the road at night


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