Shuib Taib gets up close with playful creatures at Kenyir Elephant Village
VISITORS to Tasik Kenyir via Pengkalan Gawi, a port to ferry visitors to the biggest man-made lake in Southeast Asia, should not limit their itinerary to the lake only. This is because not far from the jetty is Kenyir Elephant Village, the latest addition to Tasik Kenyir’s vast attractions.
Located at Telemong River, the village, which covers 256 hectares, is home to nine Malaysia-born tamed elephants roaming free. Although the area is huge, only 20 per cent has been developed. The rest of the area, which comprises flowing streams and valleys, is untouched. A sprawling tropical forest, it takes a leisurely 10-minute walk to get to the closest stream.
Several canopy walkways give visitors different angles from which to observe pachyderm habitat and behaviour such as digging, dust-bathing, playing andscent exploration.
Visitors to this new attraction will also get to see the elephants perform a handful of tricks, like playing the harmonica.
The adventurous will have the opportunity to get up close with these mammals which feed between 80kg and 100kg per day each.
A recent visit to the elephant village shows that the animals seem to have settled down in this new habitat. Accompanied by their loyal mahouts, they were about to have their bath. One baby elephant got a tad excited seeing the crowd gathering at the mouth of the stream.
The playful creature ran about aimlessly and knocked into some of us while doing so. But his mahout ran to the rescue and gave him a little pep talk, and all was well again.
Interestingly, the village also has a buffer zone where wild elephants sometimes roam. These wild elephants are often bewildered when their jungle homes make way for development. There are also those who are orphaned. As a result, they end up walking into some kampung. Several local mahouts have undergone training to help take care of these loving creatures.
Kenyir Elephant Village was conceptualised and built in 2012 to educate the public on nature and wildlife. It was set up by the Elephant Management Unit under the authority of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Central Terengganu Development Authority and Terengganu State Government.
The Elephant Camp is the foremost authority on elephant translocation to ensure a healthy elephant population and reduce human-elephant conflict.
HOW TO GET THERE
If you’re coming from Kuala Lumpur, you can either drive or take a bus to Tasik Kenyir. The trip will take six to seven hours.
But if you’re flying to Kuala Terengganu, you can take a taxi (RM100 per car) to the main jetty, Pengkalan Gawi, at the lake. There are also buses to Kuala Berang, the nearest town to Tasik Kenyir and from there taxis cost RM80 per car to Pengkalan Gawi. From this point, the last leg of your journey to your preferred resort or chalet will be across water.
Water transportation is the most important mode of travel in Lake Kenyir. All boats are located at Gawi Jetty.
Lake Kenyir is 40km west of Kuala Berang and 55km from Kuala Terengganu.
Kenyir Elephant Village
Tourist Information Centre
Pengkalan Gawi,Tasik Kenyir
Tel: 09-6267 788
Fax: 09-6667 657