Rare Pygmy Elephants Allegedly Poisoned in Borneo

Ten pygmy elephants were found dead in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve

By on January 29th, 2013 12:42 GMT

Over the course of the past three weeks, the bodies of ten pygmy elephants were discovered by wildlife rangers in Borneo's Gunung Rara Forest Reserve.

Seeing how the species is presently listed as an endangered one, and several reports state that only 1,500 such elephants are now inhabiting these regions, it comes as logical that conservationists were taken aback by the news of these deaths.

More so given the fact that, from what wildlife rangers and conservation officials can tell, these animals died because of poisoning.

Their claims are based on the fact that the bodies displayed no signs of external injuries, and on the fact that autopsies revealed both signs of internal hemorrhages, and ulcers.

For the time being, authorities are trying to figure out whether or not they are dealing with a case of foul play on behalf of some locals or other groups of people.

Thus, while it is indeed possible that these pygmy elephants accidentally became exposed to various harmful chemical compounds and that this caused them to die shortly after, it is also possible that somebody deliberately poisoned them.

Daily Mail
quotes Masidi Manjun, the environmental minister of Sah, i.e. the state in which said animal park is located, who commented on these killings as follows:

“This is a very sad day for conservation and Sabah. The death of these majestic and severely endangered Bornean elephants is a great loss to the state.”

Furthermore, “If indeed these poor elephants were maliciously poisoned, I would personally make sure that the culprits would be brought to justice and pay for their crime.”

Seven of these pygmy elephants were females, whereas the remainder were males.

Apparently, the wildlife rangers who stumbled upon their corpses have also found a 3-month-old baby elephant, which was standing next to its dead mother, hoping that it might eventually woke up.

It is to be expected that a thorough investigation into these alleged killings will soon follow.

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