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SOS Rhino : In the News : Sabah chief minister demands full report on elephant killing

Sabah chief minister demands full report on elephant killing

  October 29, 2004
Borneo Bulletin Online

KOTA KINABALU - The Sabah Wildlife Department has been ordered to give a full report on last month's killing of an endangered Borneo Pygmy elephant to Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, The Star reported.

"I am saddened and shocked by the killing. I just came to know of it. I want a full report from the Wildlife Department," he said after chairing the state Cabinet meeting here.

He said he wanted the report as the killing of the bull elephant near the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu was a very serious matter that involved protected animals.

The Chief Minister also directed the department to increase its enforcement by placing more park rangers in areas where the Borneo Pygmy elephants were roaming.

This was to ensure that poachers do not take advantage and kill them senselessly. The 2.5-tonne elephant was shot thrice in its head, and its tusks, each weighing about 14 kg, removed sometime between Sept 23 and 25. The hind legs were also removed for consumption.

News of the killing however, only broke two days ago when Tabin Wildlife Sdn Bhd Managing Director Datuk Wilfred Lingham highlighted the issue, urging action against the culprits.

WWF Malaysia expressed deep concern over the killing, saying that there was "no reason to kill the bull elephant as it was not a problem animal and was even welcomed by tourists at a (nearby) resort."

Its Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy project manager Raymond Alfred, in a statement, said that the demand for ivory seemed to be the motive behind the killing.

He said the Tabin Wildlife Reserve was surrounded by plantations and smallholdings, making it difficult to identify the people behind the killing.

He asked if residents were willing to identify vehicles coming in and out of the area. "Ideally there should be a better way to monitor access into the reserve to prevent further killings," he said, adding that there were about 1,600 Borneo Pygmy elephants in the whole of Borneo.

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