KOTA KINABALU: Sabah faces extinction of its critically endangered Borneo pygmy elephant if the killing of the land mammal continues.
Sabah deputy chief minister Datuk Christina Liew said the spate of elephant deaths was not good for the survival of pygmy elephant species.
"If this carries on, we might be looking at another extinction of a large mammal in Sabah. We must not let this happen. I will not let this happen.
"We need to work together with all stakeholders to make sure we do not let the elephants go the same way the rhinos did," she said.
On Nov 3, the decomposed carcass of an elephant was found in the Kinabatangan river, less than two weeks after another pachyderm was found dead with gunshot wounds at a plantation in Beluran in October.
In September, a dead elephant was found with 70 gunshot wounds at a plantation in Kalabakan, Tawau. 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.
On the Kinabatangan elephant carcass, Liew said there was high reason to believe that the pachyderm was killed as its front legs were cut off by a sharp object.
"Based on the length of the intact front leg bone (ulna) that was recovered, we estimate the probable height of the elephant. We believe it to be a six feet sub adult bull elephant.
"We do not know if the tusks were taken as the head was missing. It’s also believed that the elephant was dead for more than a week,” she said.
Liew, who is also the Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister also noted that it would be challenging for the wildlife team to determine the exact location the elephant had died since it was found floating in the river, adding that the Sabah Wildlife Department and police are working very closely to solve the case.
“We hope the police's Tiger Platoon under the General Operation Force (GOF) would be mobilised soon to assist the department in protecting the wildlife, especially the elephants, and put an end to these senseless elephants killings once and for all," she said.
Recently, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sir Abdul Hamid Bador declared a war against wildlife criminals nationwide.
In his visit to Sabah on Monday, Hamid announced that the Tiger Platoon squad would team up with Sabah’s wildlife and forestry rangers to carry out patrols against poachers.
Hamid also instructed all five GOF battalions in Sabah and Sarawak to go all out in their fight against wildlife criminals, including those involved in supplying meats and parts of endangered species.