KOTA KINABALU: A bull elephant that killed a man at a timber plantation in the east coast Tawau district has been culled by Sabah Wildlife Department rangers.
Department director Augustine Tuuga said the male elephant was shot and killed late Sunday, a day after it trampled the Indonesian national to death on Nov 19.
He said the rangers had tracked down the bull elephant and determined that there was a likelihood of the animal attacking humans again.
"We did not want to take any chances with this bull as it had already killed a human," said Augustine.
"There was a real possibility that this bull elephant would attack again if it came across anyone in its path," he added.
He said the bull elephant had been in musth – a periodic state of heightened sexual activity and aggression in adult male pachyderms.
Musth is caused by a marked increase of testosterone in the animal, resulting in the bull elephant's very violent behaviour, Augustine explained.
"I have directed my officers in the east coast region to be on high alert to monitor the movements of the elephant herds within their ranges and evaluate the behaviour of other elephants in the herd as well," he added.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the decision to cull the bull elephant was a difficult one.
"We did it with great reluctance but human lives are paramount," he added.