Third elephant to die in Sabah this month may have been poisoned

There are about 2,000 elephants left in Sabah according to an old census. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: The third elephant found dead in Sabah this month is believed to have been poisoned, state wildlife authorities said.

The Sabah Wildlife Department’s preliminary biopsy report revealed the probable cause of death as toxaemia that causes organ congestion and eventually failure that leads to death.

The carcass of the female elephant was found by workers at the Malangking oil palm plantation in Sukau, Kinabatangan, some 350km from here, yesterday morning but it could have been dead since Thursday, the department said.

The elephant had a satellite collar with a “Girang” ID tag on its neck.

“Based on the report lodged by the estate manager and the palm oil harvester identified as Alan, the carcass had a foul scent.

“Several lizards were also found eating the carcass, including the neck area, where the satellite collar was,” the department said.

There was no bullet wound on the body, it said, adding that a police report had been lodged.

On Nov 1, an elephant calf was found drowned in a mud pool in Lahad Datu, and two days later, the carcass of a male elephant was found floating in Ulu Sungai Kinabatangan. Both districts are on Sabah’s east coast, where several oil palm estates are located.

Last month, a bull elephant was also found dead, riddled with more than 70 bullet wounds on its body and its tusks missing, at Sungai Udin in Tawau.

There are about 2,040 elephants in Sabah according to a census carried out in 2006. The state government is expected to present a 10-year action plan soon to save the animals from extinction.