Plantation management probed for allegedly hiding death of pygmy elephant

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 26 Jan 2020

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife rangers have located the site of a Bornean pygmy elephant that was buried at an oil palm plantation in Sabah’s Kinabatangan area after the estate management allegedly hid its death.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga, when contacted Sunday (Jan 26), confirmed that they were investigating the case and are awaiting the full report from their team on the ground.

“I am waiting for the report,” he said, but declined to comment further.

It was learned that wildlife officials had received a tip-off about a week ago claiming that an elephant was buried at a plantation in Kinabatangan sometime before Jan 20.

Sources claimed that the senior management decided not to report its death.

Some sources in Kinabatangan indicated that the estate involved had at least three to four previous elephant deaths that were reported to wildlife officials in 2019.

A source, who provided a picture of an excavator allegedly used to bury the dead elephant, said that most of the elephants that died in the area were due to suspected poisoning.

Under Sabah’s wildlife conservation enactment, it is mandatory to report the death of a fully protected animal like elephants.

Wildlife investigators suspect that the unrecorded elephant death was done with estate officials knowingly concealing its death.

Offenders if found guilty can face a fine of up to RM50,000, and a jail term.

Wildlife officials have yet to identify the sources of the poisoning that contributed to the deaths of the elephants in Sabah over the past two to three years.

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