Police, wildlife authorities must probe butchering of elephant in Sabah, says Liew

KOTA KINABALU: The brutal killing of a Bornean pygmy elephant should be thoroughly investigated by the wildlife authorities and police, says Datuk Christina Liew.

In condemning the brutal attack on the animal, the former state tourism, culture and environment minister said all efforts must be made to catch the culprits behind the killing at the border of Saicheng Plantation near Kg Imbak in Sabah's central Tongod district.

"I denounce the heartless and despicable act of the killer(s). Whatever the motives could be, we cannot tolerate such gruesome killing of animals.

"We believe in the capabilities of the police, and hope they will leave no stone unturned in their relentless efforts to apprehend the suspect or suspects," said Liew, who is also a former state deputy chief minister.

Liew, who is Tawau MP and Api Api assemblyman, said the poaching of elephants cannot get out of hand as Sabah was facing a dwindling elephant population.

"Perhaps the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 could be amended to impose more severe penalties on those convicted of wildlife crimes to serve as a deterrent to would-be perpetrators," she said Saturday (Jan 23).

Liew was commenting on news reports on the death of the elephant, said to be between five and seven years old, on Nov 20.

It was found by estate workers butchered in several parts. A postmortem found that the elephant was shot at least seven times and half the carcass was skinned.

Liew said that it was a concern as skinning of elephants could be a new element in demand for the illicit animal products in Sabah.

She said Asian elephants in some other countries were being poached for their skin for medicinal purposes.

"It is an irresponsible act and an evil and illegal trade that should be stopped in its tracks," she added.

She also hoped that investigations would be carried out on two other cases earlier this month involving a calf in Lahad Datu and another in Kinabatangan, where alleged poisoning has not been ruled out as the cause of death.

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