KOTA KINABALU: A female elephant has been found dead at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Tawau.
The elephant, estimated to be between 12 and 15 years old, is believed to have died from injuries sustained after a fight within her herd.
Sabah Wildlife Department public relation officer Siti Nur'ain Ampuan Acheh said they were alerted to the dead elephant on Oct 8 and sent a team to check.
"We went in to find the carcass a day later (Oct 9). Based on the physical condition of the elephant, we believe that it died more than five days ago," she said in a statement.
"We used metal detectors and did not find any metal objects in its body," said Siti.
She said a post-mortem examination later found that there were no bullet wounds on the elephant but there were cracks on its skull and other injuries to its head, nasal and other areas.
"This severe head trauma might have caused severe bleeding inside its head, which led to its death," she said.
She said such injuries were most likely due to fights within the herd.
Earlier, plantation workers reported that they saw about 40 elephants in surrounding areas before discovering the carcass.