The Borneo Pygmy elephant was found in the Kinabatangan river. - NSTP/Courtesy of NSTP reader.

KINABATANGAN: The decomposed carcass of a critically-endangered Borneo Pygmy elephant was found in the Kinabatangan river here, early today.

The latest discovery was made by villagers in the area, who immediately alerted the Sabah Wildlife Department.

Department director Augustine Tuuga said a team of wildlife officers was dispatched to the scene to conduct an investigation and autopsy.

He said it would be too early to determine whether the elephant was a victim of poachers or died of natural causes.

He also said that the team cannot yet determine the exact location of the elephant’s death, as its body was found floating downstream.

It was the third Borneo Pygmy elephant carcass discovery since September, after a dead elephant was found with 70 gunshot wounds at a plantation in Kalabakan, Tawau; and another pachyderm was found dead, also of gunshot wounds, at a plantation in Beluran in October.

In the first two cases, the tusks of the elephants had been removed.

Six suspects were arrested and are expected to face charges of killing the Kalabakan pachyderm.