Plantation guard arrested over latest elephant killing in Sabah

Julia Chan
The body of the elephant which was photographed floating in the river was found by wildlife officers in a seated position. — Photo courtesy of Sabah Wildlife Department

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 21 — Police arrested a 20-year-old local man last night in connection to the poaching of an endangered Borneon pygmy elephant at a plantation in Sabah’s east coast district of  Beluran.

Beluran district police chief superintendent Kasim Muda said that the plantation guard was picked up by police and Sabah Wildlife Department rangers at about 11.30pm last night after receiving information from sources.

“The rangers are investigating the case, including interviewing witness statements in connection with the jumbo’s death.

“Rangers also took a statement from the estate manager, as well as seized the estate’s entry logbook that has details of who had entered the estate recently,” he said.

The arrest comes following the discovery of a dead elephant with its tusks sawn off, discovered by a worker at one of the plantation blocks of Ladang Bimbingan 2 in Beluran on Saturday.

It was believed to have been killed about three to five days before it was found.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said that the carcass of the elephant was discovered by plantation workers after they went to investigate a foul smell emitting in the area.

A post mortem last night found that it was shot dead and its tusks removed.

This is the second incident this month involving elephants being hunted for their ivory tusks.

Last month, an elephant was found floating in the Sungai Udin river in Dumpas, Kalabakan, with 70 bullet wounds found all over its body. Six men have been arrested, including a worker with the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) estate, and two others who were hired to guard the plantation from elephant intrusions.

They are expected to be charged in court soon for the illegal use of weapons and killing a protected species. 

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