Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pygmy elephant found dead

Saturday September 20, 2008

KOTA KINABALU: A young Borneo pygmy elephant was found dead under mysterious circumstances close to the Kinabatangan Jungle Resort at Kampung Bilit in Sabah’s east coast.

Sabah Wildlife Department officer in charge of Kinabatangan, Roland Niun, said it was difficult to establish the cause of death as it was in a state of decomposition when they were alerted about it on Sept 2.

He said that the cause of death of the two-year old elephant remained unknown but it could possibly be due to poisoning.

Sabah Wildlife department director Laurentius Ambu said that the endangered Borneo pygmy elephant is protected under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment of 1997 in Sabah and unlawful killing of an elephant carries a fine of RM50,000 or a jail term of five years or both under Section 25 (3)(b).

The Asian elephant sub-species is only found in Sabah, although some roam in neighbouring Kalimantan in Indonesia’s Borneo.

This makes Sabah the sole custodian of a unique sub-species of elephant.

“Today, we estimate that there are fewer than 1,500 left in Sabah and we take their protection and survival very seriously,” Ambu add-ed.

The department recognises that conflict between elephants and humans does arise when an elephant happens to damage crops.

However, anyone who takes the law into their own hands and harms or kills an elephant will be arrested and prosecuted, he warned.

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