By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: The recent discovery of two dead adult Bornean Pygmy Elephants, minus its tusks, have riled up staunch devotees of Sabah’s wildlife.
One of the elephants was found dead and rotting away in the Kinabatangan river just two days ago, while the first Pygmy was discovered at Dumpas in Tawau earlier in the month.
Both could have been killed around the same time and by the same group of poachers who were obviously going for the ivory, reliable sources told BorneoToday.
Sadly, the Sabah Wildlife Department has tried to cover up the two deaths, with not even a hint of what had happened, “and it looks like they are trying to sweep it (deaths) under the carpet,” the sources said.
The breaking of the sad news of the dwindling numbers of Pygmy Elephants came on the same day a large load of sharks were found landed at the wharf in Sandakan as well as the discovery of carcasses of turtles at Pulau Bum Bum off Semporna.
There was an awkward ‘silence’ on the usually active “Media Whatsapp Group” of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment when a reporter attached a photograph of the dead turtles.
BorneoToday can reliably tell you that the Sabah Wildlife Department was informed on September 10 about the ‘tusk-less’ Pygmy Elephant at an oil palm estate in Dumpas, Tawau.
This is an area where herds of the Pygmy Elephant are known to roam.
The discovery of the second Pygmy Elephant was even more gruesome and shocking, as the carcass was highly decomposed, leading experts to believe that it was killed at about the same time, and its tusks sawn off as well.
“This is definitely the work of skilled poachers who knew what they wanted,” said the sources who requested anonymity.
“So what is the Wildlife Department going to do now; open yet more investigation papers which just collect dust at the end of the day. Will the culprits ever get caught.”
Early Wednesday morning, the Danau Girang Field Centre posted what it described as “disgusting scenes happening right now at Sandakan pier… “
“A total ban on shark finning should be implemented for Sabah. Even if sharks will be fully protected in marine parks by the end of the year (and this is good progress), only shark finning ban will reduce the massacre!
DON’T EAT SHARK FIN SOUP! SHARE THIS WIDELY!
Recently, Masidi Manjun disclosed that Sabah will ban shark fishing, including finning, by the end of the year, and is expected to be enforced after the amendments to the Sabah Parks Enactment are tabled in the State Assembly sitting in November.
However it will only be effective in its six marine parks, covering some 8 per cent of the state’s waters.
Sabah State authorities has previously proposed for amendments to be made to national fisheries law that will ban shark hunting, following reports of a dwindling shark population.
But following a rejection by Ahmad Shabery Cheek, the federal Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister who said there was no need for such a ban, Masidi had said they would go ahead with enacting its own ban where possible.
Masidi said this is to protect the remaining shark population in its waters that brought in hundreds of millions of ringgit to the dive industry.
Currently, species like the hammerhead shark, smooth hammerhead shark, winghead shark, and oceanic wingtip shark — as well as the oceanic and reef manta rays — are banned on recommendation of the Sabah Fisheries Department.
“It is imperative that we protect sharks in our waters, which brings in more tourism dollars when alive and in the wild, rather than being sold as sea food,” Masidi had said after a meeting with the Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA).
Danau Girang Field Centre also shared:
“Sea turtles recently slaughtered somewhere on the east coast of Sabah! BorneoToday was told it was discovered at Pulau Bum Bum.
“All sea turtle species are totally protected in Sabah.
“When are we going to understand that by destroying our environment and the creatures that live in it, we are condemning ourselves?
“SHARE THIS WIDELY! The massacre has to stop!”
According to reports, rangers from the Sabah Wildlife Department have been dispatched to Semporna, where they will visit the site where at least nine green turtle carcasses were allegedly found and carry out investigations.
Augustine Tuuga, the Sabah Wildlife Department director, was quoted saying his officers in Tawau had managed to contact the person who took the photo earlier Wednesday.
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