KOTA KINABALU, June 21 — A female elephant calf here limped for days on an almost-severed foot before a team from the Wildlife Rescue Unit tracked it down for much-needed medical attention.
The calf, estimated to be approximately two years old, had its right foot caught in a snare which resulted in a horrific injury that required the wildlife unit’s veterinarian team to perform an amputation at its ankle in order to save its life.
The wildlife rangers had been trying to track the elephant since they received a report on Saturday of an injured animal sighting in the Tungku area of Lahad Datu. They found it in Felda Sahabat 5 yesterday.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Arifin today released a statement to express his sadness over the irresponsible and cruel act of setting snares.
It is also illegal under the Sabah’s wildlife laws.
“Now, not only is the calf unable to live in the wild with its herd, but it will also be handicapped for the rest of its life. At the age of two, it still needs to milk from its mother and interact with its herd to live a normal life,” said Jafry in his statement.
“I would like to remind all parties not to put up any kind of trap or snare for any reason, not least because it is against the law. I am also asking all plantation managements to ensure their workers do not set up snares in the forest because this cruel act could lead back to them,” he said.
The Wildlife Department is offering a reward of RM5,000 to any party who can offer credible information that could lead to the arrest of the individual responsible for setting the snare.
“Anyone with information can call 016-8109901, and we promise to keep the informant’s identity a secret,” he said.
Elephant populations in Sabah have dwindled in recent years due to human-wildlife conflict like development, habitat loss and poaching.
Authorities’ efforts to provide a safe environment for the wildlife are often hampered by problems with enforcement, conflict with plantations, and lack of awareness.