COMMENT: The seven pygmy elephants which were found dead in a man-made mud pool in Rinukut, Tawau, should serve as a lesson for the relevant authorities to avoid a similar incident from happening again in the future. There should be laws to punish culprits for negligence that led to death of wildlife and failure to protect wildlife.
This is because the mud pool was man-made and was left unprotected without any fences. I carried out an investigation and found out that the seven elephants had died in the “Berkat Saga” area in the oil palm plantation of Rinukut Sdn Bhd. The logging contractor is actually named Bakat Saga Sdn Bhd, a prominent logging contractor in Tawau appointed by Yayasan Sabah.
Remember that chilling silence in 2013? Feel the same chills now. Then 14 pygmy elephants were found dead at the Gunung Rara forest reserve, likely caused by poisoning from pesticides.
The media all over the world reported the shocking news and the world was promised by the State Government to investigate the matter so that the culprits are bring to justice. But until today, 3 years have passed and another 7 elephants have died, we still do not know what and who killed the pygmy elephants.
The public and I do not want to hear the same old rhetoric that the Sabah Forestry Department is working with the Sabah Wildlife Department to conduct an in-depth investigation on the death of the pygmy elephants.
As we mourn for our pygmy elephants, we should also be ashamed, as with all the ‘top’ departments to protect the environment and wildlife, the elephants’ death has put a dent in the tourism industry.
The relevant authorities should conduct a soul searching and start asking themselves why can’t they do more to prevent such an incident from recurring.
We also wonder, why was this mud pool first created? How long has the mud pool existed? Why was it dug in the first place? To hide illegal logs in the forest? To intentionally trap our pygmy elephants so that they don’t disturb the oil palm plantation? Were these elephants deliberately sent to their death using deep mud traps? Mass killing? Why did the plantation personnel not know about this sooner?
“Why was the mud pool not fenced up? Why was it not refilled after? There are a millions of whys that no one seems to be bothered enough to answer? We the people are saddened and angered by this news.
We now demand for an answer from the relevant authorities.
Chan Foong Hin
- Chan Foong Hin is the DAP Sri Tanjong Assemblyman. The comments are his alone and is not necessarily endorsed by BorneoToday.