Probe into death of bull elephants still ongoing – Masidi

PENAMPANG: Investigation into the gruesome death of the two wild bull elephants that were killed by poachers last year is ongoing.

Disclosing this here yesterday, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said he had instructed the ministry’s permanent secretary to lead the investigation with the relevant agencies involved.

He added that they had received some information and the information might help them find the answer.

However, he refused to divulge any further information stating merely that they would reveal everything at a proper time.

The two elephants were found cruelly butchered by poachers for their tusks near the Segama River at the Kawag Forest Reserve at Sabah’s east coast.

The carcass of the first bull was found on Dec 27, last year, in the middle of an estate bordering the forest reserve, while the second bull, a rare sabre-tusked bull called Sabre was found on New Year’s Eve. Sabre was fitted with a satellite collar in October last year before he was released at the forest reserve.

Sabre’s existence was publicised due to the uniqueness of his tusks and Masidi said yesterday that the information that was shared had probably encouraged the poachers to come.

“Publicity is not always good. It may give some mileage to our tourism, but we are also telling the criminals to come and get it. There are things that we need to keep to ourselves – some things are special in Sabah. We need to be careful when we talk about what we have in Sabah in the future that would serve as an invitation to poachers,” he added.

Meanwhile, tourism arrivals for last year were expected to be one of the best for Sabah.

Masidi said that this was because of the different marketing approaches that had been adopted by the State’s Tourism Board in promoting Sabah to outsiders.

He added that instead of using billboards, modern technology and apps were used to market Sabah to visitors from China, Korea and also from Taiwan.

He also said that for the first time, the Sabah Tourism Board had a surplus budget and he attributed it to their efficient management of the budget.

“I have asked them to spend less early last year, and that they should reduce their promotion expenditure by up to RM2 million. This was not a well-accepted directive,” he said.

Nevertheless, they managed to attract more tourists between January and October, last year, he said.

The Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese arrivals exceeded 40 per cent, he said.

“Sabah Tourism Board has done a good job,” he said.

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