By AUGUSTINE TUUGA
STATEMENT: A male elephant aged 6-7 years died while undergoing treatment at the Borneo Wildlife Sanctuary, Kinabatangan on the morning of December 6, 2017.
The elephant was captured in Desa Plantation, Ladang Pertama on November 24, 2017 by the Wildlife Department’s Rescue Unit for relocation and treatment because it showed signs of injury on its left front leg and was aggressive towards estate workers and villagers.
Reports of its appearance at Desa Plantation first surfaced on November 5, 2017. Wildlife personnel were sent to manage the situation because it was reported that the elephant was charging estate workers that came across its paths.
The same elephant was also reported to have caused panic among people in the nearby villages and estates in Telupid for its aggressive behaviour by charging people it encountered along its path.
After tracking the elephant for some time, wildlife personnel finally encountered it at Desa Plantation on November 24, 2017, where it was successfully captured.
The elephant was then taken to Borneo Elephant Sanctuary for treatment.
While undergoing medical examination and treatment, its tongue was found to have a serious wound which was believed to have been caused by gunshot.
The wound on the tongue caused the elephant to be unable to eat or drink.
The elephant was found dead on the morning of December 6, 2017 despite efforts by veterinary officers to treat the wounds.
A post mortem to determine the cause of death was conducted on the same day.
During the post mortem procedure, a slug bullet was found lodged in the injured front left leg. There were also signs of other gunshots on the body, but they did not penetrate or cause any internal organ injury.
The cause of death is believed to be due to dehydration because the elephant was unable to drink due to the injury to its tongue.
While the Wildlife Department fully understand the problem faced by the people associated with elephant in their environment, it really appreciates cooperation from all concerned by contacting its nearest office for assistance to mitigate disturbance and property loss.
The Wildlife Department meanwhile investigates the case as it involved the death of a totally protected species.
• Augustine Tuuga is Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department
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