KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew hoped that the Police Tiger Platoon squad will be mobilized soon to assist the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) to protect wildlife and put an end to the senseless elephant killings once and for all.
Liew who is also Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister said she is totally at a loss of words on the spate of elephant deaths that had occurred in Sabah this year.
“It has not even been two weeks since we received reports of an adult male elephant being found dead with it’s tusks removed in Beluran, we are now facing yet another elephant death, only this time in Kinabatangan” she said in a statement here yesterday.
Liew said she had been briefed by the Sabah Wildlife Department Director Augustine Tuuga that from the post mortem findings, there was strong reason to believe that this elephant was probably killed as its front legs were cut off by a sharp object.
She said based on the length of the intact front leg bone (ulna) that was recovered, the probable height of the elephant was estimated to be a six-foot sub adult bull elephant.
“We do not know if the tusks were taken as the head was missing. It’s also believed that this elephant had been dead for more than a week and since it was floating in the river it will be quite challenging to find out where the elephant actually died,“ she said.
The carcass of a Borneo Pygmy elephant was found floating down from the upper reaches of the Kinabatangan river on Sunday.
On Monday, The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said that the General Operations Force’s Tiger Platoon unit would be tasked to assist the wildlife and forestry authorities to protect Malaysia’s flora and fauna.
Liew said SWD and the Kinabatangan Police are working very closely to solve this case.
She added this was really very disheartening news and was not good for the survival of this species.
“And 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 rhinos did,” said Liew. — Bernama