Cold-blooded killing: Veterinarians conducting the post-mortem near the Felda Umas oil palm plantation.
KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife rangers have sought the help of police to investigate the shooting of a male pygmy elephant near the Felda Umas oil palm plantation.
Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said the elephant had suffered for two to four days before it died in the area, about 70km from Tawau.
He said a post-mortem conducted by the wildlife rescue unit’s veterinary team found that the elephant had a small wound in the abdominal area and a shotgun pellet lodged in the left lung.
He said the shot entered the abdominal area and penetrated the intestines, causing serious internal bleeding before being lodged in the lung.
“It was quite sad as this elephant did not die straightaway and probably suffered for several days,” Dr Sen said, adding that the elephant was 18 to 25 years old.
Tawau Wildlife Department officer Soffian Abu Bakar urged those with information to come forward as it was an offence to kill the protected pygmy elephant.
State Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said the elephant was among a few in the area identified by the department to be translocated to forest reserves.
“The elephants in Felda Umas have been an ongoing issue for the villagers. We have so far transferred more than 15 elephants from this area.
“The elephant that was killed was one of the few still remaining in the vicinity of the plantation that were awaiting translocation,” he said.
Dr Ambu said a similar problem occurred in the Telupid district.
“Recently, a group of about 25 elephants made their way to almost a kilometre from Telupid town.
“We have already translocated eight elephants and are moving the others.
“Even areas like Pensiangan and Sapult, which have never seen the presence of elephants, are now facing a serious elephant-human conflict,” he said.
Dr Ambu said translocation was expensive to carry out.
“It can cost up to RM30,000 to transfer one elephant. And in some cases, just a few weeks after a group of elephants was translocated, they end up going into other human populated areas, causing problems there,” he said.