Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Investigation on Borneo pygmy elephant deaths to complete soon

KOTA KINABALU: No stones are left unturned in investigating the death of 14 Borneo pygmy elephants at Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Tawau, last month.

State Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib in giving the assurance to the people yesterday, also said they hoped to wrap up the investigation soon.

“I am still waiting for the full report from our office in Kinabatangan, which among others include results from the samples of soil and other items from the location, the type of poison and also the statements taken from villagers and planters in the area,” he said.

According to him, their investigation is framed under Section 429 of the Penal Code, for committing mischief by killing animals. The culprit faces a maximum jail sentence of five years.

“I have directed everyone to give this case a priority … we want to get to the bottom of the issue and hope investigation will be completed soon,” he said when asked on the progress of the investigation after launching Ops Selamat II at Suria Sabah here yesterday.

Meanwhile, Hamza explained that they are still waiting for the chemist report, which is expected to be completed soon.

“If there is any sign of criminal intent, we will not hesitate to take action against those involved and charge them in court.

“For now, we are giving our full focus on the investigation of the case,” he said.

Fourteen carcasses of Pygmy elephants were found middle of last month. The cause of their death is believed due to poisoning.

The WWF wildlife group estimates that fewer than 1,500 Borneo pygmy elephants exist, and they live mainly in Sabah and grow to about eight feet (245 centimeters) tall, a foot or two shorter than mainland Asian elephants.