KOTA KINABALU: The latest carcass of a male elephant was found chopped into pieces, leading authorities to suspect foul play was involved in its death.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said a post-mortem on the Borneo pygmy elephant showed that only 30% of the body was left.
“This includes the hip bone, along with the tail bone and the skin from the back.
“Both its front left and right feet were cut off. Yes, cut into pieces. About one week already, ” he said in a text message.
The latest discovery came amid growing concerns over poaching and killings of the endangered gentle giants.
Tuuga said the possibility that the elephant was killed by poachers and found along the Kinabatangan river could not be ruled out.
“A full investigation is now underway, ” he said.
The carcass was found floating down from the upper reaches around Kg Batu Puteh of the Kinabatangan river early Sunday.
Tuuga said it would be difficult for them to ascertain the exact area where the jumbo could have been killed.
He said it was likely to have died in the upper reaches of the river and floated downstream before villagers spotted it and alerted the authorities.
It was the third incident in five weeks.
In late September, a bull elephant was found dead at a plantation in Tawau’s Kalabakan.
Six suspects have been arrested and are expected to face charges under the Firearms Act and the Wildlife Conservation Enactment for killing a critically endangered jumbo and removing its tusks.
Last month, a decomposed jumbo was found at a plantation in central Beluran district.
So far, wildlife experts have not been able to positively pinpoint the cause of death although foul play is also suspected.
Two holes were found on the body while its tusks were retrieved not far from the carcass.