By Mirembe Martina
Ten pygmy elephants were found dead in Malaysia but are feared poisoned to death.
The dead elephants were found in a forest in Malaysia next to each other. They seem to have passed on over three weeks ago. They were found at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve.
Wildlife officials fear they were poisoned to death. A three month old calf was found alive trying to wake up its dead mother and it was rescued. According to Sabah environmental minister, Masidi Manjun, it is not clear if the poisoning was intentional or accidental. “This is a very sad day for conservation and Sabah. The death of these majestic and severely endangered Bornean elephants is a great loss to the state,” Masidi said in a statement. “If indeed these poor elephants were maliciously poisoned, I would personally make sure that the culprits would be brought to justice and pay for their crime.”
The WWF wildlife group estimates that fewer than 1,500 Borneo pygmy elephants exist and live mainly in Sabah. They grow to about eight feet (245 centimeters) tall, a foot or two shorter than mainland Asian elephants. The dead elephants are believed to be from the same family group and ranged in age from 4 to 20 years, said Sen Nathan, the wildlife department’s senior veterinarian. Seven were female and three were male, he said.
Post-mortems showed they suffered severe hemorrhages and ulcers in their gastrointestinal tracts. None had gunshot injuries.
“We highly suspect that it might be some form of acute poisoning from something that they had eaten, but we are still waiting for the laboratory results,” Nathan said.