Sunday, July 5

International NGO pledges RM10k, reward for capture of poachers responsible for brutal elephant killing now RM30k

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The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) described the death of the pygmy elephant in Sungai Udin as an act of brutality and cruelty. Bernama Photo

KOTA KINABALU: International non-governmental organisation Orangutan Appeal UK has pledged an additional RM10,000 for the arrest of those involved in the recent killing of an elephant in Sungai Udin Tawau.

With Orangutan Appeal UK’s pledge, the bounty now stands at RM30,000 with RM10,000 offered by the Sabah Wildlife Department and RM10,000 donated by a concerned individual.

Its founder Sue Sheward said she was shocked to hear about the heinous crime where a 30-year-old bull elephant was shot by poachers in Sungai Udin last week.

“I just arrived in Kota Kinabalu two days ago and heard this gruesome news from the Assistant Director of Sabah Wildlife Department Dr Sen Nathan. He was devastated as he and his team conducted the postmortem, and he told me that in his 25 years of working with wildlife, he has never come across an act as cruel as this” said Sue.

“As I have made a pledge to the honourable Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal when I met him last year to help him and Sabah in conservation activities, I would like to pledge RM 10,000 to be added to the reward pool for any information that would lead to the successful capture and prosecution of elephant poachers of Sungai Udin Tawau.

“This is the right thing to do and I hope more Malaysians can step up and assist in capturing these cruel elephant poachers,” Sue said.

Sue is in Sabah at Dr Sen’s request to assist the Sabah Wildlife Department in translocating a pair of rehabilitated orangutans from Sepilok to Tabin .

The two orangutans, Ceria and Rosa, are ready to go and will be monitored during the whole release programme, she said.

On Sept 25, a group of anglers had found the body of a juvenile elephant floating in the river in Sungai Udin, Kalabakan, with a rope tied around its neck. When officers from the Wildlife Department went to look for the elephant a day later, it was found without the rope and in a sitting position on the river bank.

A postmortem revealed that the elephant was a juvenile male aged between 20 and 30 years old with its body riddled with 73 gunshot wounds fired at close range and it had its tusks sawn off.

The case is being investigated under Section 25/28 of the Wildlife Enactment 1997 which carries mandatory jail time if convicted. Police have also been roped in to help with investigations, in what is dubbed as ‘Ops Khazanah’.

Sabah Wilfdlife Department Director Augustine Tuuga said that there has been more than 100 elephant deaths reported in the last nine years, from a variety of causes including being shot to death, poisoned or deadly illnesses.