KOTA KINABALU: A pygmy elephant that was found killed along Sungai Udin, Tawau on Wednesday (Sept 25) was shot multiple times at close range before it had its two tusks removed.
This was concluded after a team of vets and wildlife officials conducted a post-mortem on the elephant, according to a source from the Sabah Wildlife Department.
The source said that at least four or five poachers were involved in the killing of the adult male elephant, which was initially thought to be a juvenile female.
The source said that the confusion could have been due to the state the elephant was seen in the photos that were first circulated on social media on Sept 25.
"It was found tied by the riverbank and more than half of the animal's body was submerged in the water," said the source.
The source also said that based on wounds and bullets found from all parts of the elephant's body, the poachers were believed to have fired at the mammal using semi-automatic guns from a close range.
"It is not sure whether the elephant had suffered greatly before dying but one bullet was found right through the left temple.
"The shot had fractured and penetrated the skull and decimated the brain, meaning death would have been instantaneous after this shot was fired," said the source on Sunday (Sept 29).
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga, when contacted, confirmed that the post-mortem had been completed and that the nature of the elephant's death was cruel.
He, however, did not elaborate on their findings.
Dr Sen Nathan, who was part of the post-mortem team, thanked Sabah Softwood Bhd for their assistance.
Sabah Softwood Bhd provided heavy machinery needed to drag the elephant carcass from the river and also prepared a boat during the search for the elephant earlier.
Pygmy elephants are protected under (Schedule 1) of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 and anyone found guilty of killing them could be jailed up to five years and slapped with a fine of RM250,000.
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