Sabah Authorities Considers Reward for Information on Dead Elephants
It’s such a heart-wrenching moment when a child loses its mother. Veterinarian, Dr Sen Nathan experienced that moment when he saw a Borneo pygmy elephant named Kejora, calf tugging at its mother, as it laid dead at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Sabah’s east coast Tawau district.
He said, “I felt sad, I don’t have the words to describe my feelings”. He also said that three-month-old Kejora was sent to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Zoo yesterday where it will be cared for.
Dr Sen, a veterinarian for the Sabah Wildlife Department also mentioned that he’s been investigating the “mysterious” deaths of 10 elephants at Forest Management Unit (FMU) 23, a Yayasan Sabah concession area in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve. He also noted the area the elephants were found dead had about 1,000 of Sabah’s estimated 2,000 pygmy elephant population.
Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu, Sabah Wildlife Department director, suspects that poisoning could be the main cause for the death of the elephants. “We have stationed our team there to check the area and to further investigate if there are any more elephants involved,” he added. (Source)
Masidi Manjun, State Tourism Minister of Sabah wants to offer a RM50,000 reward for information on 14 Borneo pygmy elephants found dead in January, if it is confirmed they were poisoned.
UPDATE (Feb 8,2013)
“There is a reward of RM50,000 for information leading to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the alleged culprits if the chemist report confirms that death was due to intentional poisoning”, he said.
Officials believe that they elephants may have been poisoned, possibly by substances left out by workers at nearby plantations to keep them from eating palm fruits.
Masidi aims to push for severe punishment including a stiff jail sentence for anyone found to have maliciously poisoned the pygmy elephants. He cited, “It is a combination of anger and sadness. I am still grieving. I fail to understand human behavior”.
In a statement, WWF-Malaysia suggests that the death of the elephants on rampant felling of forests by planters, forcing the elephants to find alternative food and space, putting them in conflict with humans. The group said there is only about 1,200 Borneo pygmy elephants left in the wild. (Source)