Friday, June 21, 2013

Poisoned food cause death to Bornean pygmy elephants

The death of Bornean pygmy elephants at Gunung Rara forest reserve in Tawau early this year is believed cause by toxic constituents that were intentionally added to their food.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said a toxicology analysis by the Queensland Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry in Australia discovered from the liver samples of two elephants and a sample of white powder at a location where another elephant was found dead, showed a high level of heavy metal such as arsenic, cadmium, iron and chromium.

Meanwhile, the  findings by pathologists from the veterinary faculty at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Thailand suggested that caustic or toxic elements had damaged the elephants' digestive system.

The findings were supported by analysis from the chemistry department of Malaysia and Ramathibodi Poison Centre, Thailand on the elephants' kidneys, spleen and lymphoid tissues although they could not trace the presence of toxic elements.
Masidi said the phenomenon is just incomprehensible since the combination of such metals is usually found in mines, foundries, garbage and toxic waste dumping sites whereas there are no activities of such nature in the area.

He said a committee comprising representatives from the Wildlife department, Royal Malaysian Police, state Forestry department, Chemistry department, UPM, state Veterinary Services and Animal Industry department and a few relevant non-governmental organisations (NGOs) was subsequently set up to probe the deaths.
The state government had also upgraded the conservation status of the Bornean elephants from a merely 'protected' to 'fully-protected' species under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

Commenting on the the negative impact of the incident on the international community, he said the perception was not really accurate as the Bornean elephant population was currently 2,000 and the rate of delivery among the species at conservation such as the Kinabatangan wildlife Sanctuary and Tabin Wildlife Reserve had increased by five per cent.

As for the  RM120,000 reward, Masidi said his ministry through the Wildlife department was still pursuing investigations and maintaining the amount of reward for information.


Post a Comment