22.10.2019 (The Borneo Post) - KUCHING: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has condemned the latest killing of a Borneo pygmy elephant in Sabah, and offered a RM50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprit.
RSPO chief executive officer Datuk Darrel Webber said in a Malay Mail report that those responsible must be brought to justice and stand accountable for their actions.
“The RSPO condemned the killing of a second endangered pygmy elephant found shot dead, without its tusks, in the Beluran District of Sabah, and offered a reward of RM50,000 in exchange for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for this incident.
“The reward will be coordinated through the Sabah Wildlife Department,” he reportedly said in a statement.
The latest incident saw a bull elephant discovered by plantation workers at a private estate in Sabah last Saturday morning, believed to have been killed three to five days earlier for its tusks. One local man, a plantation guard, has been arrested to facilitate investigations.
This is the second reported killing of a pygmy elephant in Sabah, Malaysia in less than a month.
In the previous incident, an elephant was found riddled with over 70 bullet wounds fired at close range. Six men, including a Federal Land and Cooperatives Authority worker, were arrested for the crime but have yet to be charged.
Investigators are still trying to ascertain the exact cause of death on the latest Beluran incident as the bullet wounds found on the carcass did not seem fatal.
“These recent killings are symptoms of a larger problem — a problem that will only grow if we, collectively, do not intervene.
“Having been involved in conservation work in Sabah, I know that elephants in Sabah, have two major issues: Firstly, elephant ranges and migration paths have been severely impacted by development. This has led to a steady increase of human and elephant conflict. And this conflict can sometimes be deadly. Secondly, elephant poaching for tusks are on the rise. Or perhaps, the reports of poaching seem to be on the rise,” Webber said.
Webber said that a holistic approach, backed by local stakeholders and with appropriate resources needed to tackle the issue.
“It is in the best interest of Sabah’s major industries, particularly the tourism and oil palm sector, to have a well-managed elephant population. Both sectors must work hard to find out what those roles are. Otherwise, we will end up with these recurring, deplorable acts,” he said.