KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife rangers have taken in an elephant calf, the youngest ever found, under their care after it was spotted wandering alone at an oil palm estate in Tawau.
The calf, believed to be barely three months old and still in need of feeding by its mother, was found by estate workers at the Brumas Oil Palm area on Tuesday.
The workers then alerted their manager, who immediately called the wildlife rangers.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said their officials found that the calf was in weak condition.
“It was likely hungry and thirsty. We are not sure how long it had been wandering alone,” he said yesterday.
He added that they had tried searching for its mother or herd, but found no trace of either.
Tuuga said they would continue the search, although they would probably need to take the calf under their care for good if they failed to locate its herd within the next few days.
“It is quite surprising how the calf could have wandered off alone without its mother or herd searching for it,” he said.
Tuuga said the calf had been taken back to the base in Tawau, adding that they hoped to give it the care it needed as it was still very young.
“We have begun treatment and feeding to make sure that it will be all right,” he added.
The Brumas area is considered a high-risk human-animal conflict zone.
A rogue bull elephant killed a plantation worker and seriously injured a couple there two years ago. Wildlife rangers eventually culled the bull.
Human-animal conflict, especially in the east coast and interiors of Sabah, is increasing due to rapid development and land clearing.
In April and May alone, six elephants were found dead in Sabah’s east coast, most likely due to diseases.