No bullets were found in the Bornean pygmy elephant which was killed at an oil palm plantation last Friday. -- NSTP Archive

KOTA KINABALU: No bullets were found in the Bornean pygmy elephant which was killed at an oil palm plantation last Friday.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said despite post mortem results not turning up with such an outcome, they nevertheless would not rule out that pachyderm was killed for its tusks.

She said veterinarians in charge of the investigation had difficulty in determining its cause of death due to the decomposed state of the body.

“Although it was initially suspected that the elephant was shot, there were no bullets found in the body or nearby.

“Two holes were found on the body, but after detailed inspection the team was unable to associate it with shooting as the organs and muscles were damaged,” she said in a statement, adding the elephant was believed to have been dead for at least five days.

The elephant believed to be in his 20s and with a height of 2.5m was found dead by plantation workers.

Police have detained a security guard since Sunday to assist in investigations.

Liew said she had instructed the Sabah Wildlife Department to prioritise the case and work closely with police.

“I am saddened with every episode as a similar incident happened less than a month after an elephant was found dead in Tawau with 70 bullets,” she said.

Liew also called on plantation companies to work with enforcement agencies to tighten security to stop poachers.