Ten endangered pygmy elephants poisoned in Borneo jungle
This photograph shows the heartbreaking moment a baby pygmy elephant tries to wake its dead mother, who is believed to have been poisoned in Malaysian Borneo.
Wildlife officials found the three-month-old calf next to the adult carcass in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve, 130 kilometres from Tawau in Malaysia's Sabah state.
Ten endangered elephants, including seven female and three males from the same family group, have now died from suspected poisoning in the past three weeks.
Wildlife authorities in Sabah, a state on the eastern tip of the island, have joined together with the police and WWF to investigate the deaths.
Sen Nathan, the Sabah Wildlife Department's senior veterinarian, said in a statement that they "highly suspect" the animals died due to poisoning after finding severe ulceration and bleeding in their digestive tracts, reports the Daily Telegraph.
He added: "It was actually a very sad sight to see all those dead elephants, especially one of the dead females who had a very young calf of about three months old. The calf was trying to wake the dead mother up."
According to the Mirror, environmental minister Masidi Manjun said: "This is a very sad day for conservation and Sabah. The death of these majestic and severely endangered Bornean elephants is a great loss to the state.
"If indeed these poor elephants were maliciously poisoned, I would personally make sure that the culprits would be brought to justice and pay for their crime."
Pygmy elephants, who live mainly in Sabah, are smaller and have more rounded features than normal Asian elephants. It is thought there are fewer than 2,000 Borneo pygmy elephants now left in the wild.
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