Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Journey to Save the Bornean Elephant (Part II)

Elephants are very suspicious creatures and that they can smell danger

KOTA KINABALU: The death of the 14 Borneo Pygmy Elephants within the duration of two months in forest in Sabah could be due to poisoning.

Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) conservation and research head, Raymond Alfred, in a statement yesterday opined that the poisoning could have been due to cyanide or sulphur contamination in their food sources.

“Traces of cyanide could be traced in certain pesticides that are being used to increase the growth of young oil palm trees. Whereas sulphur is normally used by local hunters or Indonesian workers hunting wild boars (bearded pig) at the edge of plantations which is sited adjacent to the forest,” he said.

He added however that no concrete evidence have been gathered to show that the elephants were poisoned by the plantation during their encroachment or presence along the Ulu Sg. Napagon and Imbok Rivers.

The following map 1 shows the historical movement of the elephants in key elephant managed ranges in Sabah.

“And there is also no concrete evidence showing that the logging contractors were using high amount of pesticides to kill the elephants at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve, although one white substances was found within the vicinity where the elephant corpses were found. There were onlyfour plantations and one logging contractor camp sited within the elephant ranging in Gunung Rara Forest Reserve,” he said.

Raymond also emphasized that he was unsure if the 14 elephants found dead in Gunung Rara and Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve from Dec 29, 2012 to Jan 31, 2013, were killed intentionally.

He explained that elephants were very suspicious creatures and that they can smell danger if someone tried to poison them.

“So the key management measures now were not to blame any industries or group or people,” he said.

He also added that a similar incident has occurred in Sumatra.

In his statement, Raymond also explained that the reasons why the elephants encroached into the plantations sited within the Gunung Rara and Kalabakan Forest Reserve were to gain access to water source and saltlick.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: A Journey to Save the Bornean Elephant (Part II)