Pygmy elephant shot dead in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Another Borneo pygmy elephant has been killed on the east coast of Sabah. The adult female was found with multiple gunshot wounds by workers at a plantation close to the Malua Forest Reserve in Kinabatangan.

A video of the dead elephant was posted on the Facebook page of Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), a research and training facility, yesterday.

A post-mortem has been conducted, confirming that the animal was killed by pellets from a shotgun.

Sabah Forestry Department chief conservator of forests Datuk Sam Mannan said a team of rangers has been sent to investigate if the elephant was shot by poachers inside the forest reserve.

The killing shocked officials at DGFC, who described it as a blow against the conservation of critically endangered jumbos.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said it did not make sense because it is a female, so no tusks to harvest, and no meat was taken.

“It is sad and senseless,” he said.

Tragic end: The female elephant found by plantation workers in Kinabatangan.
Tragic end: The female elephant found by plantation workers in Kinabatangan.

He said the dead elephant was not part of the herd monitored by researchers at DGFC.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun also described it as a sad incident. He ordered wildlife rangers to track down the culprits.

Late last year, three pygmy elephants, including a rare sabre tusk jumbo, were killed by poachers in the Segama area.

Apart from poaching threats, human-elephant conflicts on the east coast have seen land owners killing the animals when trying to stop them from destroying their crops.

Sabah Wildlife director Augustine Tuuga said the 2.2m tall elephant, which was about 10 years old, was shot in the head, stomach and waist.

“Some of the buckshot and shotgun pellets penetrated the internal organs of the elephant. It is believed that the elephant was shot a week earlier,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said the elephant was eventually found dead at Golden Apex Plantation in Kinaba­tangan, about 100m from the Malua Forest Reserve boundary.

It was still alive when it was first found by a plantation worker at around 7am on Friday.


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