Malaysia: Researchers to monitor jumbos closely

The Star 9 Jan 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife resear­­chers are now working even harder to keep watch on the 10 bull elephants which are equipped with satellite collars following the killing of two males by poachers.

Danau Girang Field Centre director Dr Benoit Goosens said the animals are being monitored daily.

“It is not easy but it is something we have to do,” he said yesterday.

He added the recent death of an elephant with its unique tusks was a learning experience for the wildlife researchers.

The bull elephant in question had its tusks in reverse position and researchers took to naming it “Sabre”.

Goosens said researchers had captured Sabre on Oct 7 and re­­leased it the following day.

“Like other bull elephants, when Sabre moved to an area, it would remain in that locality for some time before moving to another location,” he added.

He said it was for this reason researchers were not worried about Sabre until the discovery of another bull elephant carcass near the Kawag Forest Reserve on Dec 27.

He said Sabah Wildlife Depart­ment was notified after researchers noticed that there was no movement from Sabre’s collar.

Goosens said wildlife rangers, with the assistance of plantation workers, tracked down Sabre’s carcass just outside the Ulu Segama forest reserve four days later.

The carcasses were discovered about 1.5km apart.

Researchers believe Sabre was killed sometime on Nov 27.

Dr Pakeeyaraj Nagalingam, a WRU veterinarian who took part in Sabre’s rescue and relocation, said it appeared that there were no safe places for the elephants in Sabah anymore.

There are an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 pygmy elephants in Sabah forests.

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