Activist and animal lover Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said it is
heartbreaking and difficult to accept the death of the seven pygmy
elephants in an abandoned quarry pit in Rinikut, Tawau.
“The loss of the endangered animals is a huge blow to Sabah’s efforts
on the conservation of the 1,500 or so remaining elephants in its
forests,” he said, in a statement, here.
This latest discovery of the dead elephants is the second largest case
of such deaths in Sabah, he pointed out.
In January 2013, fourteen adult elephants were found dead in a widely
suspected case of poisoning in a forest reserve near Tawau.
Lee said although the Sabah Wildlife Department has ruled out foul
play over the deaths of the animals, such tragedies could have been
prevented if humans working in the forests are sensitive enough to the
needs of the animals and act consciously to prevent any untoward
incident involving wildlife.
“The herd of pygmy elephants entered the mud pool to frolic without
knowing the depth and quick-sand conditions of the pool excavated by
“Then were trapped inside for a week without being noticed and died
before they could be rescued.
“The tragedy could have been prevented if the mud pool left unused had
been filled up after works had completed,” he said.
Lee said he agreed with State Tourism, Culture and Environment
Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun that the elephants’ deaths was a sad
day for Sabah in respect of its conservation efforts and that
plantations and companies operating close to wildlife-rich areas
should play a role in identifying dangers to wild animals and take
remedial action to prevent accidents.
“Let this latest tragedy be a wake-up call to all humans to exercise
their conscience and do more to protect wildlife sharing our planet
and assist in conservation efforts.
“Do not allow more wildlife tragedies because of human neglect and
callousness,” he said.
On Sept 14, the Wildlife Department said the seven elephants were part
of a herd of nine which were stuck in a mud pool.
Wildlife rangers were able to rescue two elephants but five were
already dead when they arrived and two others had to be euthanised as
they were too weak, dehydrated and blind.