Bid to conceal jumbo death in Sukau
Published on: Tuesday, January 28, 2020
By: Kan Yaw Chong
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KOTA KINABLU: Pictures of an excavator digging a hole  to bury a dead elephant inside a plantation in the Sukau District , Lower Kinabatangan, have raised the alarm bells again over the fate of the protected species in Sabah.

 It allegedly took place before Jan. 20, 2020.

  Sabah Wildlife Department Director Augustine Tuuga ruled out gunshot as the cause of death after exhuming the carcass following a tip off found no gun wounds. 

 Tuuga declined to speculate on the exact cause of death except that he was waiting for the full report from his ground team.        

 Since the Bornean Elephant is a Totally Protected animal under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, it is mandatory to report any death to the Department.   

 As the latest death in Sabah’s hottest ecotourism destination area was not reported , the Department suspects it could be a possible attempt to hide the facts of the latest case.      

 However, it was also claimed that the latest mutism is uncharacteristic of the plantation management which reported at least three to four previous elephant deaths in its property to wildlife officials last year.     

 Under the Enactment, any wilful killing of the pygmy elephant is liable up to a RM50,000 fine and a maximum jail term of five years upon conviction. 

Dr Raman Sukuma, 64, a prominent member of the Indian Elephant Specialists Group, said two months ago although he was optimistic on the chances of survival for the 1,000 or so elephants in Danum, Deramkot, Ulu Segama and Tabin areas because of the large landscapes there, he warned Sabah to watch Kinabatangan which is going to be its greatest challenge because of its narrow habitat and fragmented corridors for the 300-strong herd.   

Yet it is the elephants in Kinabatangan which attract eco tourists in large numbers to Sabah because of the big river and its rich diversity of wildlife – along with orang utans and proboscis monkeys or the iconic big three –  and its reputation as the last remaining forested flood plain in the whole of Asia!         


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