|Wildlife and Natural Parks Department officer Augustine David with the sole survivor of a herd of Borneo pygmy elephants found dead in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve recently. Pic by Lano Lan|
KOTA KINABALU: IF the chemist's report indicates that the 14 Borneo pygmy elephants were poisoned, the state government will offer a RM40,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said yesterday the chemist's report would be ready on Friday.
At a task force meeting on Monday, he was told that two senior police officers from Kinabatangan had been assigned to investigate the matter.
"The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (Matta) has offered RM10,000 and they (task force) have asked the ministry to top it up.
"I found that there is a provision for this in the Wildlife Enactment and I agreed to top it up with another RM40,000. So the potential reward is RM50,000."
All eyes have been on Sabah since news of the death of 14 elephants near the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve, 130km from Tawau, was published.
The Sabah Wildlife and Natural Parks Department believes that the endangered mammals were poisoned. It submitted samples to the Chemistry Department last week.
"Once the chemist's report is ready and if it shows conclusively that someone poisoned the elephants, we will start sending flyers to let people know about the reward.
"We are not saying that the elephants were poisoned. We are saying if the chemist's report confirms it, we will start looking for the culprits."
Source: New Straits Times