Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Wildlife Dept starts probe into dead, injured elephants


The Sabah Wildlife Department has initiated investigations into the increasing number of injured and dead elephants due to poaching in the State. Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said that the investigation hopefully would end the problem and provide less opportunity for people to kill the aimals. “Pygmy elephants are one of the tourist attractions in Sabah and we would like to go to the bottom of the problem and the investigations are still ongoing,” he told reporters at Menara Tun Mustapha here yesterday. The Sabah Wildlife Department has received pictures from a recent Japanese visitor to Kinabatangan showing a young elephant with a seriously injured leg. According to Masidi, the Ministry has also tried various ways to tackle the problem such as setting up a corridor for the animals in the forest. “For example we have taken the initiative to set up a corridor of life in Kinabatangan to ensure the animals can move from one forest to another,” he said. He added that the killing of elephants initially arose from lack of a corridor of life for the animals which made it harder for them to move from one forest to another since most of the forests have been fragmented. He added that the problem is understandable since humans have encroached on the animals’ habitat which makes it harder for them to move around. “We don’t have a substantial number of areas to be designated here in Sabah for the animals, which is the reason why the problem happened in the first place,” he said. Therefore, Masidi said more forest needs to be designated into permanent forest for wildlife sanctuary to put an end to the killing of wild animals. He added that this could also solve the problem of man-made snare traps usually set by people who trap wild animals to be sold or for self consumption.