Thirteen Bornean elephants have been found dead in a forest reserve in Tawau.
The elephants were said to be from one of the last bastions for the species in Sabah. The elephants are believed to have been poisoned, and were found near a logging camp and oil palm plantation, which is near the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve. The only living survivor, a three-month calf, was found next to its mother’s carcass. The rescued calf will now be hand raised at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.
The death of these majestic and endangered Bornean elephants is a great lost to the state of Sabah, and disturbing as 13 is a large number.
According to Sabah’s Wildlife Department Director, Datuk Laurentius Ambu, the department were on the lookout if there could be more elephants affected by the poison which was found in feeding areas of the reserve. The 100,000ha concession area, between the Danum Valley and Maliau Basin Conservation Areas, accounts for nearly 1,000 or half the elephant population in the state.
The elephants were believed to have been poisoned with large amounts of rat poison. A post-mortem conducted on the elephants found that they all had badly damaged internal organs.
According to the New Straits Times, a task force made up of the Wildlife Department, Forestry Department, police, Yayasan Sabah and World Wildlife Fund has been formed to probe the findings.
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