TAWAU: An adult Male elephant around 18-25 years old was found dead along a road inside Felda Umas Oil Plantation. “We received the call from the Plantation Manager at around 9am on Friday stating that they had stumbled across a dead Elephant in their area “ said En Soffian Abu Bakar, Sabah Wildlife Department Officer for Tawau District.
“We suspected that the elephant died due to wounds caused by Gunshots, which was confirmed by our Wildlife Rescue Unit’s Veterinary Team that conducted the post mortem on the carcass later that day ” added Soffian.
“ Wewould like to seek assistance from the public with any information regarding the death of this Elephant to come forward , as a crime has been committed “ concluded Soffian.
“Our Wildlife Rescue Unit’s Veterinary team arrived later that day to conduct the post mortem of the dead Elephant. There was a small wound on the abdominal area which indicated a probable entry wound for a bullet.” said Dr. Sen Nathan, Assistant Director , Sabah Wildlife Department .
“Our suspicion was confirmed, as we conducted the post mortem we found lodged in the left lung was a bullet or maybe even a slug from a shotgun cartridge. It had entered the abdominal area , penetrated the intestines causing serious internal bleeding and finally hitting the lung. It was quite sad as this elephant did not die straight away and had probably suffered for about 2 – 4 days before succumbing to its injury . “ added Sen.
The Bullet/Slug has been now handed over to the Police for further examination and identification” concluded Sen.
What we see here is an ongoing malady, not only here in Felda Umas but also in other parts of Sabah that share its areas with Elephant habitats ” said Datuk Dr. Laurentius Ambu, Director of Sabah Wildlife Department .
The elephants in Felda Umas have been an ongoing issue. We have to date translocated about more than 15 elephants from this area.
This elephant that was killed was one of the few that were still remaining within the vicinity of the Plantation, awaiting translocation. We also have a similar problem in the district of Telupid. Since July more than 25 elephants have ventured out of its forest habitat and has caused undue damage to fruit trees and small Oil Palm Plantations owned by villagers.
In fact this group of 25 or so elephants had made it’s way as close as 1 KM from Telupid town . We have already translocated around 8 elephants and we are still in the process of translocating the others.
Even in some areas that have never experienced or seen Elephants in the past are now facing a serious elephant human conflict. One of these areas is in the Pensiangan /Sapulut District where elephants are now quite commonly seen near villages feeding of the fruit trees and destroying other crops as well” added Datuk Dr. Laurentius.
]When asked about how successful the translocation operation activities were Ambu said
“This ( translocation activity) is a very expensive operation, easily cost up to RM 30,000 per elephant. And sometimes just a few weeks after the elephant had been translocated, they end up going into other human populated areas, causing problem there.”