KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife rangers are seeking police assistance to identify a bullet shell recovered from a pygmy elephant that died along on road leading to the Felda Umas Oil Plantation about 70km from Tawau.
Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said that the elephant, which died of a gunshot wound, suffered for two to four days before it finally died.
"Our Wildlife Rescue Unit's Veterinary team conducted a post-mortem on the carcass, and found a small wound on the abdominal area. Lodged in the left lung was a bullet or maybe even a slug from a shotgun cartridge," he said.
He said that the projectile entered the abdominal area and penetrated the intestines, causing serious internal bleeding before finally hitting the lung.
"It was sad this elephant probably suffered for days succumbing to its injuries," Dr Sen said, adding that the male elephant was about 18-25 years old.
Tawau Wildlife Department officer Soffian Abu Bakar said the pygmy elephant was a protected species and urged the public to come forward with any information on the shooting as it amounted an offence.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said that the elephant was among a few in the area earmarked for translocation to a forest reserve.
"The elephants in Felda Umas have been an ongoing issue. We have, to date, translocated more than 15 elephants from this area.
"The elephant was one of the few still remaining in the vicinity of the plantation, awaiting translocation," he said.