Sabah Wildlife Dept searching for source of cadmium responsible for pygmy elephant deaths

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah's wildlife investigators are racing to find the source of the cadmium poisoning that is now believed to be the cause of many elephants deaths.

"We are still in the process of finding out how these elephants got the cadmium in their systems," Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said.

"Hopefully if we can find it soon. The sooner we can have answers, the better," he said when contacted Tuesday.

For the first time after years of inconclusive results on the deaths of Borneo pygmy elephants, wildlife conservationist found evidence of cadmium poisoning.

The National Poison Centre detected the high levels of cadmium in the kidneys and livers of three elephants that died recently in Sabah.

Since Sept 14, five Borneo Pygmy elephants - including three in the last two weeks - were found dead in the Kunak and Kinabatangan districts.

None of Borneo pygmy elephants were found with any visible injuries and suspicion remained on poisoning.

On Monday, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin said that the poison centre's analysis did not find any insecticide or herbicide in samples taken from the elephants.

Jafry said that they were still investigating the source as it was unclear how the elephants had so much cadmium in their livers or kidneys as there were no industries in Sabah that produced and dumped cadmium waste into the environment.

Sabah's gentle giants, numbering around 1,500 in the wild, had been facing threats from poaching and human-elephant conflict while many died of unknown causes over the decade.

NGOs were also taking a closer look at various possible sources for the cadmium poisoning. Many preferred not to speculate at this moment on the possible sources.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 0
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Nation

'Experienced, proven, why not...', TMJ appears to make a move for Khairy as JDT CEO
Over 1,000 celebrants in Penang toss in the Year of the Rabbit at 210m long table
Wisma Putra: M'sia condemns attack at Azerbaijan embassy in Tehran
Floods: Number of evacuees in Johor goes up slightly to 2,216 from 2,191 earlier
Umno purge: This is not the end, merely a beginning, says Hisham
IGP promises transparent probe in Tawau murder case
Unbowed, unbent, unbroken, says Khairy over Umno sacking
Zahid: No need to call for emergency yet, floods under control
Dr Wee visits latest flood relief centre to open in Ayer Hitam
Possible flash floods in Johor, Pahang, Sarawak

Others Also Read