: The population of wild elephants in Peninsular Malaysia is estimated to be between 1,220 to 1,450, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
He said the animal distribution in the peninsula is concentrated in Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Perak, Johor and Negeri Sembilan, with the highest elephant population to be found in the National Park in Pahang of about 290 to 631 elephants.
As a 'keystone' species in the forest ecosystem, Wan Junaidi said elephants played an important role in terms of ecosystem balance, becoming a symbol of national biodiversity conservation.
Wan Junaidi said the awareness and cooperation of all Malaysians was crucial to protecting, conserving and appreciating national biodiversity, especially wildlife such as elephants as a priceless living heritage.
"In ensuring that these elephant species survive, the cooperation of all parties is very much needed to play their respective roles. Apart from the government that conducts public awareness programmes, the private sector are welcome to jointly carry out their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes towards the conservation of wildlife in our country.
"This earth is ours together. We should live in harmony with the flora and fauna that need each other for our survival in the future," he said in his message in conjunction with the World Elephant Day today.
Wan Junaidi said the ministry through the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) launched the National Elephant Conservation Action Plan (NECAP) on Nov 27, 2013 which outlined elephant conservation activities from 2013 to 2022.
NECAP is a comprehensive plan to ensure effective elephant conservation efforts such as increasing elephant population in key habitats, protecting elephant habitat, strengthening elephant law enforcement, effective elephant conflict management and enhancing research and knowledge on elephants' ecology and biology.
World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12 every year since 2011 to expose the world community on conservation efforts of elephant species as well as fostering public awareness of the critical threats faced by elephant populations worldwide.