TAWAU: Five of the nine elephants found stuck in a mud pool near the Berkat Saga Logging Camp in Rinukut last Saturday were dead, said Sabah Wildlife Department Director Augustine Tuuga.
He said the elephants were believed to have been stuck in the pool for a week before they were discovered.
“The Tawau Wildlife Office and the Wildlife Rescue Unit were despatched to rescue the elephants, but when they arrived, five of the elephants were found dead.
“With the aid of heavy machinery from the Berkat Saga Logging Camp, two adult elephants, which were still strong, were removed from the pool, while two others had to be euthanised (put to death humanely) to prevent them from suffering further as they were very weak, dehydrated and blind,” he said in a statement here today.
Augustine said from investigations conducted and the post-mortem report, no element of crime was involved in the death of the elephants.
“The elephants could have possibly gone into the mud pool to cool themselves and bathe, but had not anticipated the depth and consistency of the mud, like quicksand in the pool, and could not get out,” he added.
He said the mud pool where the elephants were trapped had been covered with soil to prevent a similar incident.