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Elephant-killing suspects likely to face ‘stern action’

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Six arrests were made in the case of a Borneo pygmy elephant who had been shot 70 times for his tusks. Only about 1,500 examples of the rare species remain in the world. THE STAR (MALAYSIA)/ANN

Elephant-killing suspects likely to face ‘stern action’

The six suspects who were nabbed for the brutal killing of an adult bull pygmy elephant in the Malaysian city of Tawau in Sabah state last month will most likely be charged in court later this week after their remand expired on Monday.

The elephant was found tied to a tree trunk by the riverbank on September 25 with over 70 bullet wounds on its body.

Tawau police chief Asst Comm Peter Umbuas said the suspects’ remand, which ended on Sunday, was extended for another two days.

“We are investigating these suspects under the Firearms Act and are hoping to charge them in court after this second remand ends,” he said.

He said apart from police, wildlife officials are also probing the suspects under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment.

“Wildlife officials might charge these suspects after we have done so under our Act, but we are not sure,” said ACP Umbuas on Sunday.

Sabah Wildlife Department officials could not be reached for comment.

The six, including an officer and two Felda settlers, were arrested on October 2 in Felda Umas and Ladang Dumpas for allegedly killing the elephant and taking its tusks.

The arrests also led to the seizure of five guns, including three homemade shotguns, 53 bullet shell casings, 59 live ammunition and two elephant tusks, hidden in Felda Umas cooperative’s farm.

In a statement, Felda said it would not compromise on wildlife brutality.

The statement said that they are working closely with police and wildlife officials to investigate the matter.

“We will take stern action against our staff and members who are wrong in this case as well,” said the statement.

The statement also stressed that Felda practises environmental friendly policies including those related to environment protection and conservation efforts.

They are also bound by standard operating procedures when dealing with elephants and other wildlife in their areas of operation.

THE STAR

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