Borneo pygmy elephant found near plantation was poisoned, say authorities

Authorities have confirmed that a female elephant found dead in Sabah last week died of blood poisoning, in a death that echoed the postmortem conclusions in the case of another Borneo pygmy elephant found last month.

A police report into the matter has now been filed, and authorities will now carry out an investigation into the death of the protected animal.

Members of the public found the animal on Monday near a palm oil plantation in Lahad Datu, but believe that the elephant could have been dead for two days before the discovery. Wildlife authorities have concluded that the animal was aged between 20 and 25.

“The postmortem showed that it had multiple-organ congestion in the heart, lung, liver, spleen and kidneys coupled with myocardial infarction [a blood clot in the heart] and intestinal lesions,” Sabah’s Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew reported at a press conference yesterday.

No external wounds were found on the animal, and authorities believe it may have ingested a toxic substance. Wildlife rangers are now at the location where the elephant was found to locate the possible source of the poisoning.

As per the state’s Elephant Management Action Plan, plantation workers and owners are responsible if any elephant is injured or killed on their land.

The creatures are sometimes killed by poachers for their ivory, which fetches a high price on the black market, although villagers who see the creatures as pests also target them.

Pygmy elephants are regularly found dead on Borneo, adding to concerns about their declining numbers.

Elephant deaths have dominated Malaysian headlines over the second half of 2019, most notably after one of the majestic animals was found dead with 70 gunshot wounds near a plantation in Kalabakan, Tawau. Another dead elephant was discovered the following month, also with gunshot wounds, near a plantation in Beluran.

Rain forest-cloaked Borneo has a diverse natural habitat, and is the world’s third-largest island, shared between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.


This article, Borneo pygmy elephant found near plantation was poisoned, say authorities, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!