Tuesday January 29, 2013
10 Borneo pygmy elephants found dead
KOTA KINABALU: Ten endangered Borneo pygmy elephants have been found mysteriously dead in Sabah's east coast of Tawau.
The elephants were believed to have died of poisoning over the last two weeks as puzzled wildlife officials tried to find the cause of their deaths.
The first elephant died on Dec 29 and more continued to be found dead, with the last death on Jan 24.
Speculation is growing that the pygmy elephants might have been poisoned but wildlife and other officials refused to speculate.
It is not known whether the poisoning occurred due to natural factors, such as plants producing toxins in the area or pesticides.
The elephants were all found dead in an industrial tree plantation area under a forest management unit operated by private company in Kalabakan, about 150km from Tawau.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the deaths.
“The department has to wait for the chemist report to establish the cause of the deaths,” he said.
It is understood that a special task force comprising the Wild life department, forestry, Yayasan Sabah, WWF Malaysia and police have been set up to investigate the deaths.