Another pygmy elephant, an endangered species found in the tropical rainforests of Borneo, was found dead with its tusks removed, near here, on Saturday morning. NSTP/ courtesy of SABAH WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT

BELURAN: Another pygmy elephant, an endangered species found in the tropical rainforests of Borneo, was found dead with its tusks removed, near here, on Saturday morning.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said several oil palm plantation workers stumbled on the carcass and contacted the department.

He said a team of veterinarians and forest rangers were deployed to the area and conducted a post mortem on the animal.

"From what we know, the elephant was shot dead and had its two tusks removed," he said as quoted in a news report today.

He said based on initial checks, the elephant could have died about three days ago.

The department, he added, was working closely with security forces following this latest case.

On Sept 23, a pygmy elephant was shot dead in Sungai Udin near Tawau. It had at least 70 gunshot wounds on its body. Its tusks were also removed.

Follow-up operations led to the arrest of six suspects, including an immigrant, who were believed to be involved in the brutal killing.

Police have seized firearms, bullets and a pair of elephant tusks during the arrests.

Meanwhile, district police chief Superintendant Kasim Muda said the dead elephant has several old gunshot wounds.

The bullets, however, did not pierced through the animal's skin, he said.

"We estimate the elephant's age to be around 25 years. It weighed 2.5 tonnes and stood at about 2.5 metres tall.

"From the post mortem conducted, we found it has several old gunshot wounds," he said adding that the cause of the elephant’s death has yet to be ascertained.

"Also, we have yet to identify those behind this.

"Anyone with information should come forward to assist our investigation.”

The case, he added, was being investigated under Section 25(1) of Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 for hunting a totally protected animal.