RM20,000 reward for info on pygmy elephant’s killers

Some of the bullets extracted from the elephant during the autopsy.

KOTA KINABALU: The hunt is on for the poachers behind the killing of an adult Borneo pygmy bull elephant in Tawau, after its body was found riddled with over 70 gunshot wounds and its tusks sawn off.

The operation will be carried out by the Sabah Wildlife Department together with the police and other agencies on the latest killing, which many say revealed some of the worst injuries they had ever seen.

The department has offered a RM20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the poachers.

Department director Augustine Tuuga has declined to reveal details of their next course of action, adding they did not want any “loophole” in tackling the wildlife crime.

“We are extremely angry at the poachers and at how this situation persists.

“We are in the middle of coming up with something. Immediate action is being taken and a probe is being conducted, ” he said yesterday.

Tawau police chief Asst Comm Peter Umbuas said wildlife officials had requested help from them in the investigation and to aid in cracking down on the poachers.

“We have agreed to assist with security and will be meeting up for a discussion soon on organising an integrated operation, ” he said.

An autopsy on the elephant found over 70 bullet wounds on its body, leading wildlife officials to believe that at least 70 shots were fired before it had its two tusks removed.

The dead elephant, believed to be over 30 years old, was first discovered by anglers tied to a tree near the Sungai Udin riverbank on Sept 25. Due to the condition it was in, the animal was thought to be a juvenile female.

However, wildlife officials, including vets and the post-mortem team, found that it actually had its tusks sawn off.

The anglers were not sure why the elephant was tied in such a way but said that this could be to prevent the carcass from being swept away by the river currents, while others believed that the poachers might have hoped for crocodiles to eat it.

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