Survival of 11 elephants hangs in the balance

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KOTA KINABALU: The continued survival of 11 elephants, from the herd where 14 were found killed earlier, hangs in the balance deep in Tawau.

For more than a week now, the surviving group has been trailed by a team from the Sabah Wildife Department to monitor their condition and movement.
This followed the gruesome discovery of the dead ones near the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve between Dec 29 and Jan 30.  

Senior veterinarian Dr Sen Nathan said the latest report indicated that the elephants appear healthy, but some looked confused.

“All those that survived looked young and without the adult elephants they may go off their trail or face other kinds of difficulties,” he said.

The team from the Wildlife Rescue Unit are also keeping track to ensure they can deploy medical assistance if any of the elephants fall sick.

“We are not sure if the remaining members of the herd had consumed what the others had. So our presence is also to ensure they are safe,” said Dr Sen.

The 14 dead elephants were found in the area which is also near a logging camp and an oil palm plantation about 130km from Tawau.

Only a three-month-old male baby elephant was found alive next to its mother and promptly sent to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park near here.

The authorities had said they are now waiting for a report from the Chemistry Department on tests made on samples from the dead elephants.

It is due today and the outcome will determine the next course of action for the authorities such as the police and the Wildlife Deparment.

The remains of the elephants were found with severe internal injuries and two rewards totaling RM50,000 have been offered to nab the culprits.

A task force made up of the Wildlife and Forestry departments, police, Yayasan Sabah and World Wide Fund for Nature has been formed to probe into the findings.


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