Possible culling for bull elephant that killed man in Tawau


A file picture of an African elephant in musth, showing thick tar-like secretions from the temporal ducts on the sides of its head. - Bernard Dupont/France

A file picture of an African elephant in musth, showing thick tar-like secretions from the temporal ducts on the sides of its head. - Bernard Dupont/France

KOTA KINABALU: The elephant that killed an Indonesian plantation worker in the east coast Tawau district may be culled, says Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga.

He said its rangers were now tracking down the animal, and would observe it before deciding on the next course of action.

The bull elephant, said Augustine, was part of a herd of 30 animals roaming within in the Kalabakan area.

"We will observe the elephant and assess if it is a habitual offender and could harm humans again.

"This is a protected animal. So, we have to be careful what we do," he said, adding that the department's options were limited.

Augustine added that the animal was likely to have been in musth during the attack.

Musth is a state or condition of violent, destructive frenzy occurring with the rutting season in male elephants.

The 48-year-old worker was reportedly trampled to death by the bull elephant at the Dumpas timber plantation at Kalabakan on Saturday afternoon.

On Nov 9, a couple was attacked by a wild elephant in Brumas.

Indonesian Susi Sudiman, 36, who was stomped on during the attack, suffered a serious spinal injury as well as rib fractures while her husband, 40-year-old Santoko Santra, was slightly hurt in the chest after being hit by the elephant's trunk.

The couple were having breakfast with five other workers at their work site during the attack.

Augustine said the elephant in the latest case was different from the one that attacked the couple.