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2 rare elephant species killed for ivory in Central Sabah

January 1, 2017 3:15 PM
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Sabre and another large bull are killed by poachers for ivory, with both carcasses found 1,500m from each other, says authorities.

LAHAD DATU: Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) teams are deeply saddened by the killing of two wild bull elephants by poachers near Segama River, Kawag Forest Reserve.

A first bull was found on Dec 27 last year in the middle of an estate bordering Kawag Forest Reserve while the second bull, was a gorgeous sabre-tusked bull called Sabre, that was earlier rescued from a plantation near Tawau and translocated to Kawag Forest Reserve three months ago after being collared by DGFC and WRU.

“We found the remains of Sabre on New Year’s Eve, with the satellite collar next to the skull,” said DGFC Director Benoit Goossens in a statement, today.

He said Sabre was rescued from a plantation near Tawau early October last year and fitted with a satellite collar and released into a forest reserve near Danum where he thought the animal would be safe.

“We were obviously wrong. In the space of a month, Sabre and another large bull were killed by poachers for ivory, both carcasess were found 1,500m from each other, although the killings did not happen at the same time,” said Goossens.

He said Sabre was killed on Nov 21, 2016, according to the satellite data.

“We are ready to provide all necessary information to the investigators and to the police. I believe this is the work of a professional hunter and trader.

“On the day China bans ivory trade, we get two of our precious elephants murdered for their ivory. Our elephants are already threatened by habitat loss, (and) developments such as the planned road/bridge in Sukau-Kinabatangan.

“And if we add poaching for ivory, I don’t give many years for the species to become extinct,” stressed Goossens.

Meanwhile, Wildlife veterinarian from WRU Dr Pakeeyaraj Nagalingam, who took part in the rescue and translocation of Sabre, said there were no words to express his sadness.

He said it looked like there was no safe place for elephants in Sabah anymore.

“The relevant authorities who are responsible for enforcement of illegal wildlife poaching and other illegal activities must work harder and smarter if we want to conserve our wildlife in Sabah,” added Dr Pakeeyaraj.


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