KOTA KINABALU: An assistant manager of a plantation allegedly failed to inform his management over the discovery of a dead elephant in the estate that was buried without informing the authorities.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said Monday (Feb 10) that investigations indicated that the management of the estate was unaware of the death and subsequent burial.
“The management was not informed by one of the assistant managers. We found this out after the investigation was carried out, ” he said when asked about the incident at an estate in Kinabatangan’s Sukau area sometime in January.
He said that investigations so far indicated that there were failings on the part of the assistant manager.
“We will need the advice of the deputy public prosecutor, ” he said, adding that their investigations were still ongoing.
Acting on a tip-off, wildlife rangers discovered the grave of an elephant at an estate in Sukau on Jan 26. It was established that the death of the elephant was not reported as mandated by the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment.
The elephant, which is believed to have died of suspected poisoning, was discovered by estate workers sometime in the middle of January this year before the case came to light through public tip-offs.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew also called for a full investigation into the case as the plantation concerned was seen to be a model in conservation efforts to reduce human-elephant conflicts.
Prior to the incident, there were three or four cases involving elephants dying within the plantation in 2019.
All the cases were reported by the management of the plantation.
Under the law, it is mandatory to report to the Wildlife Department the death of fully-protected animals such as elephants.
Offenders if found guilty of concealing the death can face a fine of up to RM50,000 and also a jail term.
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