KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife rangers are investigating the death of a Borneo pygmy elephant that was shot dead near a village in Tungku, about 80km from Lahad Datu.
The elephant was believed to be part of a herd of about six that has been raiding villagers’ farms for the past three months.
It was found dead in the Felda Umas 6 area by Felda auxiliary policemen on Friday.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said that the elephant died after it was shot.
“We are investigating. I can confirm it died of a gunshot wound.
“The species are protected animals,’’ he said yesterday,
It was learnt that the elephant had wandered around for a while before it died.
It is believed to have been hit near the lungs and its death was due to a loss of blood.
A villager Mohd Padeli Ismail said that he saw the elephant trying to stand up after falling down several times, while two other elephants were wandering around at about 9am on the day of the incident.
He said the two elephants left the area immediately after the elephant died.
The problem of elephants raiding the villagers’ farms had been going on for the past few months.
Lahad Datu Wildlife Department officer Mohd Suffian Abu Bakar said that his team had been sent to the area following the villagers’ complaints.
He said it was quite difficult for the team to keep up with the animals’ movement.
He also said the dead elephant was buried at the spot where it died on Saturday.