Livelihood of Pos Belatim’s Temiar Orang Asli affected by elephants and panthers

GUA MUSANG, Dec 10: The livelihood of the Temiar Orang Asli community in Pos Belatim near here has been affected by the presence of wild animals like elephants and panthers, which made it difficult for them to go into the forest to hunt or forage for forest produce.

With their incomes affected, they are forced to live frugally and depend on financial assistance from the Rahmah Cash Aid (STR).

A resident, Rahimi Dolah, 44, from Kampung Kajak, said besides the presence of wild elephants that recently destroyed their crops, the family’s two pet dogs were also injured in an attack by a black panther on Nov 2.

He said that the presence of the wild animals had forced his community to be always vigilant besides being afraid to go hunting in the forest or search for forest produce to sell.

“Nowadays, if we have to enter the forest, we must go in a group of at least four people carrying spears. Even then, we only dare venture near to the fringe of our village or to our orchard, and no longer stay overnight in the forest like we used to.

“In the past, we could venture far from the village and enter the forest to find food sources, but now we are limited to rationing the available food,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.

Endy Bah Kuhoi, a 35-year-old farmer from Kampung Cacuh, said the residents now solely relied on the STR funds and were forced to consider alternative ways to generate income following the wildlife-human conflict.

“The residents here receive STR funds, ranging from RM600 to RM1,200, depending on the number of family members and eligibility. We use the STR money to buy dry food supplies, which were originally intended for us to face the monsoon season,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) director-general, Datuk Sapiah Mohd Nor, said the department was aware of the attacks and the frequent appearance of wild animals in Orang Asli settlements here.

“We hope that the Orang Asli residents remain vigilant and take care of their safety. As a long-term measure, we are installing solar lights to illuminate Orang Asli villages for the safety of the residents,” she added.