KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) is offering RM10,000 reward to those who can assist the department in catching the culprits responsible for the killing of two Bornean pgymy elephants, including the beloved 'Sabre' recently.
The reward money will be channelled through the State Tourism, Culture, and Environment Ministry.
So far, SWD assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said no one has come forward to provide information with regards to the discovery of carcasses of the two elephants in Kinabatangan.
“We hope with this reward, it will encourage people to come forward and assist the department.
“We will verify information given to us and the reward money will only be given once the culprits are charged in court and punished,” he said, adding the department is taking the case seriously.
On Dec 31, the department’s wildlife rescue unit made the discovery when searching for a pygmy elephant nicknamed 'Sabre' after it's satellite collar stopped sending signals.
Elephant bones belonging to 'Sabre' were later discovered, along with the remains of a jumbo elephant, near the Segama river in Kinabatangan – apparently killed by ivory poachers for their tusks.
Based on its condition, 'Sabre' was believed to have been killed around Nov 20, but the carcass of the jumbo elephant, found 1.5 kilometres up the river, was still fresh.
The jumbo elephant had been horribly mutilated, as its entire face had been carved out, as a way to extract its tusks.
Five months ago, while rescuing and relocating a small herd of pygmy elephants out of a palm oil plantation, the wildlife rescue unit came upon a male pachyderm with bizarre-looking, downward-pointing tusks.
It resembled the now-extinct sabre-toothed tiger, something rarely, if ever, encountered – and images of the mini-elephant went viral on social media.
It was lovingly named 'Sabre' by the team, which fixed a satellite collar on it to monitor its movements and wellbeing, before releasing it into the Kawag Forest Reserve near Danum Valley.