Kuala Gandah Elephant
Sanctuary - Places to Visit from Kuala Lumpur Places to Visit - A Day Trip Out of Kuala Lumpur
The Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary is located within the bio diversified-rich Krau Game Reserve, it is
about one and a half hour's drive from Kuala Lumpur. A visit to the elephant sanctuary provides an
educational as well as a complete experience with one of the largest mammal
The Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary was set up in 1989 under the Department of Wildlife & National
Parks, Malaysia and manned by the Elephant Capture & Translocation Unit (ECTU).
The clearing of the jungles to make way for the plantations and settlements
created consistent confrontations between the wild elephants and the settlers.
The Elephant Capture & Translocation Unit is one of its kind in the world
dedicated to the continued protection and translocation of wild elephants, from
areas where there is conflict between wild elephants and humans, into bigger and
safer jungle reserves and national parks. Here at the elephant sanctuary, 'worker elephants are trained to
help "guide and mother' others during the relocation process to National Park
The Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary offers visitors a hands-on introduction to one of the largest mammal on
earth. Visitors are invited to feed, ride and help bath them in the nearby
shallow river. They have sense of humour, so watch out for a dunking in the
river as you clamber up their backs!
A tour of the elephant sanctuary can be combined with a visit to
DAY TOUR SCHEDULE
10.00 AM - Pick-up and transfer to Batu Caves
11.30 AM - Refreshment and depart to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
01.00 PM - Arrival / Register at the registration counter
01.30 PM - Video Documentary show. This video presentation gave us a better
understanding of the work conducted at the centre, the duty of the elephants and
the highly dangerous job of the rangers when they're out in the field conducting
wild elephants translocation projects.
02.00 PM - The elephants will be led to the holding area for grooming & feeding
session. Visitors will be instructed and invited to hand feed the elephants.
02.40 PM - Elephant rides followed by an Ele-Fun bath time with the elephants in
the nearby river!!!
04.00 PM End
The No No's
Strictly no bikinis, swimsuits OR bra-less T-shirts.
Please change into your clothes at the toilet cum shower and not in public
Wear a T-shirt over the bikini OR swimsuit during the river activities.
Other Interesting Places Nearby The Che' wong Orang Asli village (the last tribe of its kind found in Malaysia)
is also located near the entrance of the sanctuary. The Deer Park, also nearby, where you can view animals such as deer, ostrich,
the Malaysian sunbear, the mousedeer (the world smallest deer) and others.
The Asian Elephant (Elephas Maximus)
Found throughout tropical rainforests stretching from Indochina
which includes Vietnam and Cambodia, into Burma(now called Myanmar) down
Thailand trickling into Malaysia and Indonesia.
Estimated Population - Approximately about 1,500 only remains in the wilds of
Peninsular Malaysia. mainly concentrated in Taman Negara, Pahang/Terengganu -
Taman Negara Endau Rompin, Johor and Belum Forest, Perak and Sabah, East
Physical Characteristics of Young & Adult Elephants
a) Average weight of between 2,500 kg to 4,500 kg (Average weight of newly born
elephants is 90kgs)
b) Average height at the shoulder is 2.4 metres
c) The thickest skin is found on the back and head areas. The thinnest skin is
around the mouth, anus and the back of the ears. The elephant's grey skin is
only 0.8 to 1.6 inches thick, and sparsely covered with hair. The skin does
become pinkish white with age.
d) The heart weighs an average of 15kg, about 0.5% of body weight. The average
heart rate is 28 per minute standing up and 35 per minutes lying down. The pulse
will increase when an elephant is lying down and slowest at a standing position.
e) Typically, there are 5 nails on each front foot and 4 nails on each hind
f) The most prominent adaptation of the trunk is that of the upper lip and the
nose into the trunk. This functions like a hand and in the Asian elephant has
one finger-like projection on the top. The trunk has the ability to suck and
spray water, manipulate objects and grasp and hold large, heavy objects.
Elephants sometimes beat the earth with their trunks as a sign of anger, too or
as snorkels when crossing waterways!
g) The skull weighs an average of 45 kg. The elephant skull has developed great
size to support the massive trunk and the heavy dentition. Air spaces and
sinuses fill the skull to make it lighter, and allow the elephant to communicate
using a low growl referred to as an " infrasound " that carries for miles.
h) The tusks are actually the upper incisor teeth that grow at a rate of 12
centimetres per year.
i) The longest record tusk measured 3+ metres long and the heaviest weight is
j) The elephants teeth have a high crown with very rough surface, which enables
them to masticate high fibre material. The elephant has one molar on each side
of each jaw, that grinds the plant material. The teeth are replaced by one of
the six molars from the back as they push the worn teeth out the front. At age
60 the last set of teeth are usually worn out. To process its highly fibrous
food the elephant makes use
of a large cecum, which ferments the food and allows micro-organisms to aid in
digestion. (The human cecum is greatly reduced and is called the appendix.)
Still, only 50% of the food is digested - the rest is excreted unchanged, thus
reseeding the home range.
k) The hearing mechanism is very sensitive. The huge ears act as radiators, to
regulate temperature. Each ear contains many blood vessels, and the blood is
cooled as the elephant flaps its ears.
l) Vision is poor in daylight<maximum about 30 metres>and is probably best in
m) Elephants do not have tear glands. The Harderian glands serve to lubricate
n) Elephants do sleep lying down.
o) Elephant are not afraid of the mouse - they are just disoriented whenever
they are approached by any 4 legged animals!
a) Vocalisations consist of trumpets, growls, snorts, squeaks, rumbles and
b) A growl(or rumble) vocalisation may be heard up to 1km away. This is used as
a warning sound or when the elephant wants to contact other members of the herd.
c) Communications is achieved mainly through touch, sight, hearing and smell.
d) The positions of the head, tail, ears and trunks are all used for the purpose
of visual communications.
e) A recent observation by our former volunteer resident guide " The Elephant
Man " noted that wild elephants also communicate by stamping their foot to send
a message to fellow elephants hiding behind bushes!
The normal walking speed is between 4.0 km/h to 6.9km/h. The elephant is capable
of increasing this speed
twofold for an extended period when necessary. When the situation calls for it,
the elephant may charge at a
speed of about 40km/h demolishing shrubs and small trees in the process with
their ears flat against its head
and tail upwards!
There are 3 groups of wild elephants which are ;
a) A matriarch usually the oldest cow & probably a grandmother! her
daughters and their calves, forming a group of between 4 to 8 animals. The
matriarch is the teacher to all members of her family. She is the epitome of
b) A loose group of young bulls between the ages of 12 to 15 years. Elephants do
not practise in-breeding the matriarch will always chase out brooding young
bulls to mate and stay with another herd. This is the most dangerous of the 3
groups and is more prone to charging at humans!
c) Old bull elephant which has lost its leadership in a herd to a younger and
stronger bull. Bull elephants will only interact with the female family units
when the cows are sexually receptive.
Elephants move usually during the cooler hours of early morning, evenings and
night, preferring to rest
during the mid-day hours.
Diet & Feeding
A wild elephant consumes a huge variety and number of plant matter with an adult
70kg of plant matter and drink between 70 to 100 litres of water each day.
They are however browsers - just like your mouse :o)
Reproduction & Development
The average gestation period is between 644 to 668 days or 21 to 22 months with
single births being typical. The average new born calf is about 90 kgs and are
weaned after 18 months but the mother will care for the young for several years.
During the birth of a calf the members of the herd will gather around to help "
midwife." The young is born weighing about 90kgs., and nurses by mouth on one of
the nipples located between the forelegs. The young will grow rapidly in the
first few years of life, and will reach 800kgs. by 6 years old.
All female member of the herd will take turns in taking care of the young calf
including breast feeding. The growth rate slows when the female reaches 10 to 12
years while that of the male decreases when it reaches 15 years. Young males
typically leave the herd at the age of 7 to 8 years with the encouragement of
the matriarch. The sexual maturity is attained at 10 to 12 years.