It’s not only the orangutans that need our help!

The Bornean pygmy elephant is native to Borneo and is a subspecies of the Asian elephant. The Bornean pygmy elephant is totally protected under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment of 1997, however these elephants are facing ever greater threats and are in desperate need of help.

A juvenile male elephant was found dead this week in Sabah’s central Tongod district. Upon investigation by a team from the Kinabatangan Wildlife Office, the elephant was found to have a gunshot wound on his right rump. This was confirmed when a post-mortem found a bullet lodged inside the elephant’s abdomen.

Borneo Pygmy Elephant

Sadly, the bullet had caused vast internal damage and the cause of death was deemed to be shock from severe internal bleeding caused by the pellet. The Sabah Wildlife Department’s Public Relations Officer Siti Nur’Ain Ampuan Acheh said that considering the position of the injury and the trajectory of the pellet through the elephant’s abdomen, it was highly probable that the elephant was shot from the back of a vehicle, most likely at close range.

Reports suggest that a herd of elephants had been active in Tongod’s Kg Karamuak area for the last month. Siti emphasised that the investigations will continue into this killing until the perpetrator is found and brought to justice.

This heart-breaking shooting is the third elephant death in just over a week in Sabah. On the 19th July a male elephant was found dead in the Kinabatangan with injuries which suggested a fight with another larger elephant. Only a couple of days before, another male was located on agricultural land at Lahad Datu with a badly wounded foot, thought to be due to a snare trap. Rescue teams rushed to the area as soon as reports arrived of the elephant but devastatingly, it was too late to save him.

Borneo’s charismatic and unique elephants are facing desperate times. With conflict with the human population being a prime factor in these killings, Sabah’s Wildlife Rescue Unit are urgently fighting against the tide to make sure these incredible animals have a future and will not stop their vital work until the elephants are safe from harm.