Bornean pygmy elephant calf drowns in Sabah floods

KOTA KINABALU: A Bornean pygmy elephant calf was found dead at an oil palm plantation in Kinabatangan, and it is believed to have drowned five days before it was found by workers on Friday (Jan 22).

When contacted Sunday (Jan 24), Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said that a post mortem conducted pointed to drowning as the cause of death and added that foul play was not suspected as a cause of the calf's death

He said they suspect that the male calf was probably moving with a herd when it got caught in rising flood waters during bad weather experienced in most parts of Sabah last week.

Tuuga added that plantation workers at Ladang Leepang 4, IOI in Kinabatangan's Sukau area spotted the calf floating near the palm trees on Jan 22 and that they suspect it could have died three days prior to the discovery.

"A post mortem found brackish fluid in its lungs and trunk indicating drowning as cause of death," he said, adding that some body parts were eaten by predators in the area.

The latest elephant death comes just as wildlife rangers are investigating the gruesome death of a jumbo that was discovered by plantation workers in in Sabah's central Tongod district on Jan 20; it had been shot at least seven times and cut into several pieces.

Two other elephants died earlier this month in Kinabatangan and investigations are also underway. Investigators have not ruled out poisoning or other natural causes for their deaths.

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