Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Deaths of pygmy elephants still unsolved


Several months have passed and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is still wondering who or what is responsible for the untimely deaths of the 14 pygmy elephants which died between December last year and January this year in a forest reserve in central Sabah.

It is hard to fathom why it has taken so long for the analysis to be revealed and only after several letters to editors from readers, came the revelation from the director of Sabah Wildlife Department that the histopathological analysis detected the presence of a caustic intoxicant.

After this much awaited news, silence reigns once again. Meanwhile there is no conclusive evidence from the Sabah police other than that clue to the deaths had been obtained.

After this inconclusive revelation from the authorities, SAM hopes that the matter will not be put to rest but that Sabah Wildlife Department will continue to spearhead the minister of natural resources and the environment for results of the analysis from Australia.

An advanced country like Australia should be able to release the result without a prolonged delay.

If Sabah Wildlife is concerned and are truly serious about conservation and the protection of wildlife species they should be responsible to inform the public on the result of the investigations and preventive measures taken to prevent future occurrences of the mysterious deaths.

As for the Sabah police force, though it has taken the initiative to investigate, it would also be good if they should make a conclusion, they should make it known what case can be prosecuted and what cannot.

Since the matter was highlighted in January the police had yet to publicly announce any cases to be prosecuted or any conclusion on their investigation papers.

A lack of investigation efforts to identify those responsible for the murder of our gentle giants does not augur well for the Wildlife Department and for this only shows the poor governance and lack of due diligence in the whole process.

This attitude does not enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement.

The government must come clean and not take the people's intelligence and inquisitiveness for granted.

If valid reasons are not forthcoming, it will be a matter of time before the people put the numbers together and realise that they do not add up.

More importantly the public has to be assured that the investigation papers have to be made public.

SAM calls on the Natural Resources and the Environment Ministry and the Sabah Wildlife Department not to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to any law- breaking by either the logging companies, agricultural farmers or palm oil industry but to ensure that those responsible be made accountable and prosecuted.

Leter to the Editor - 27 May 2013