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Buckshot retrieved from elephant's skull
Published on: Thursday, December 02, 2004
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Lahad Datu: The Wildlife Department recovered a homemade buckshot believed to have been used in the gruesome killing of a pygmy elephant at Sungai Dewata, about Km 36 of the Lahad Datu-Kunak road here, mid November.District officer-in-charge, Stephen Sira Gibin, said the bullet was retrieved from the skull of the dead elephant early this week.

"The bullet is similar to that of an ordinary buckshot but longer. We believe it is a homemade ammunition," he said Wednesday, adding this was the first time such a bullet was found to have been used in poaching activities here.

According to him, the bullet would be sent to the Chemistry Department in Kota Kinabalu for analysis to ascertain whether it was fired from the bakakuk (homemade shotgun) seized from one of the two suspects detained, said to be security personnel guarding the boundary of the Yayasan Sabah concession area.

The gun was found in one of the tents occupied by the guards who are now under police custody.

Stephen did not rule out the possibility of more arrests soon, following joint investigations involving the department and the police.

The pygmy elephant killing was the second, with the first at the Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary barely more than a month ago. In both cases, the tusks of the dead elephants were sawn off.

On Nov 15, the carcass of a 10-year-old male pygmy elephant was found decapitated near Sungai Dewata. Wildlife personnel found its tusks sawn off and a bullet wound on its head recovered from some bushes a few meters away.

On Sept 26, a 45-year-old male pygmy elephant was found shot and butchered in a Tungku plantation, some 10km from the Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary, also with a bullet wound on its head.

"It is still premature to disclose whether the two cases of pygmy elephant killing were related. We are confident that our investigations will shed some light on the incidents," he said.

In addition, the department is also carrying out a separate investigation to trace the whereabouts of the missing tusks.

Meanwhile, members of the public are advised against buying elephant tusks or risk an offence under the State Wildlife Enactment.

They are also urged to alert the department of anyone selling elephant tusks, by calling 089-884416.



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