7 Reported Borneo Pygmy Elephant Deaths In Sabah Since October 2016

Borneo’s elephants, also known as the Pygmy elephant because of it small built, are a high conservation priority, yet they remain the least-understood elephants in the world. – Photo credit www.worldwildlife.org

By DIONYSIUS SHARMA
COMMENT: WWF-Malaysia is appalled by the latest reported elephant death in Sabah (“Bull elephant found shot dead by poachers in Tawau”, Borneo Today, 16 November 2017).

The gruesome death of a male elephant at Ladang Cenderamata of Sabah Softwoods Berhad in Tawau is both shocking and infuriating, as this is the seventh reported death of the Totally Protected species within the last 14 months.

DIONYSIUS SHARMA

It’s as if its legal status is merely an accessory and not to be taken seriously. It goes without saying that a crime this severe demands a thorough investigation and the arrest of the culprits involved so that they can be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

WWF-Malaysia commends the plantation where the carcass was discovered for reporting the death immediately to the authorities.

However, it is high time for plantations where Sabah’s elephants roam to be more vigilant in preventing such deaths. Whether they are killed by poachers, or victims of a heated confrontation with humans, the fact remains the same: our elephants are being murdered almost every month since October 2016.

For an endangered species that only numbers less than 2,000 as estimated back in 2010 and is mostly found in Sabah, this crime is beyond worrying.

This elephant murder is a crime against Malaysians as Borneo elephants are our green heritage and should be protected. If we choose to remain silent, it sends a strong signal to the elephant killers that we are supporting the cold-blooded murder of elephants.

• Dr Dionysius Sharma is Executive Director/CEO, WWF-Malaysia

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