Poachers are targeting pygmy elephants. Pix by Edmund Samunting

PENAMPANG: Publicity on unique wildlife in Sabah is good for tourism mileage but it may also attract poachers, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said today.

He said sometimes, there is a need to keep certain matters from public knowledge for conservation's sake.

Masidi was referring to the recent killing of two elephants, including 'sabre', the rare pygmy elephant with downward tusks at Segama river in Kinabatangan between Nov 20 and last month.

The carcasses of both mammals were found by Danau Girang Field Centre and Sabah Wildlife Rescue unit personnel on Dec 31.

"We need to keep to ourselves on special things in Sabah for the purpose of conservation.

"In future, the government will be careful in handling sensitive information that might invite or attract poachers," he said during the ministry's Christmas and New Year celebration at Penampang Cultural centre here.

Masidi added that the people of Sabah can also help protect the state's wildlife by becoming the eyes and ears of enforcement officers.

"These officers' are entrusted to look after iconic wildlife species in Sabah which are not available in other countries."

On the latest effort to capture the poachers behind the killing of the two jumbos, he said the ministry's permanent secretary Datu Rosmadi Datu Sulai will lead the investigation with the police's help.

Last Friday, Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) had offered RM10,000 reward to those who could assist the department in catching the culprits responsible for the killing of two Bornean pgymy elephants.

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