Borneo pygmy elephant found dead, believed poisoned

The male elephant calf that was relocated to Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary. - pix courtesy of Sabah Wildlife Department

KOTA KINABALU: An adult female Borneo pygmy elephant was found dead in a plantation in Kinabatangan, while a male calf was rescued and relocated to the elephant sanctuary.

Investigations into the elephant's death are ongoing but poisoning is suspected, said Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) director Augustine Tuuga on Saturday (Nov 28).

The carcass of the 20-year-old female elephant was discovered by a Ladang Leepang 3 plantation worker on Sunday (Nov 22) around 5.20pm.

“There were no visible bodily injuries due to sharp objects, but blood was spotted coming out from the mouth.

“After retrieving the remains, a post-mortem was conducted on Nov 23 by a team led by a SWD veterinarian, with Kinabatangan police also present.

“Samples have been taken for investigation and toxicology analysis by the investigating officer.

The official post-mortem report has yet to be released, ” said Tuuga.

The elephant is believed to have died less than 24 hours before it was found, as the carcass had not rotted and there was no stench yet.

Tuuga said the case is being investigated under Section 37 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 (for the killing of an animal).

Meanwhile, a 1.3m-tall male elephant calf was safely relocated to the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary (BES) within the Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary on Saturday morning.

The calf was initially found roaming in Kampung Sukau in Kinabatangan on Friday (Nov 27), and a team from SWD tended to it before moving the animal in a transport crate via lorry on Saturday.

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