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Poachers turning to Sabah for ivory?
Published on: Sunday, January 01, 2017
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Poachers turning to Sabah for ivory?
Kota Kinabalu: Killing elephants for their ivory is unheard of in Sabah who have previously been poisoned to death for being a "nuisance" in plantations or ended up dead after being stuck in a quarry pit at the most.However, the grim discovery of a decapitated bull pygmy elephant in the vicinity of the Ulu Segama Forest reserve may be an indication that the world crackdown on the ivory trade lately is making poachers try their luck in Sabah.

It was learnt that a single shotgun was fired at a male jumbo at an oil palm plantation boundary next to the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve. Its trunk was chopped off, its head hacked and tusks had disappeared without a trace.

The latest killing field was a plantation road next the collapsed bridge of the Segama River, said Conservator of Forest, Datuk Sam Mannan.

"We got to know this through a tip off from the plantation owners.

"No question that this was the job of a professional hunter who came up most probably from the Segama River and executed a quick kill and quick get away by boat," Mannan said, quoting the opinion of Sabah Wildlife Department personnel.

The Sabah pygmy elephant may have become another statistic in the estimated 35,000 elephants killed worldwide each year for their tusks which can weigh a maximum 250 pounds at a market price of US$1,500 per pound, raising more questions on how to stop the jumbo killing rampage fuelled by a highly lucrative illegal wildlife trade.

Many nations like Kenya have seized tonnes of ivory and destroyed them in bonfires and places like Hong Kong continue to intercept shipments of ivory.

Containers have also been intercepted in Port Klang with ivory inside.

A post mortem by the Sabah Wildlife Department confirmed the cause of death in the latest case came from a single Shotgun shot, leaving behind an empty fixed shell from which probably a burst of spherical pellets were fired.

Whether the culprit can be tracked down would depend on factors but the Sabah Wildlife Department is investigating.

However, on the basis of many other cases of high profile jumbo killings, it is doubtful that the investigation would be able to identify the killer or killers. Only the input of the Sabah Forestry Department may make a breakthrough possible.

Maps of Ulu Segama Forest Reserve shows there are teeth-like excised titled lands along the Segama River inside the Forest but the killing occurred within the oil palm plantation near the edge of the Forest Reserve, Mannan said.


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