The Malaysian forest was home to a horrific scene where ten pygmy elephants were found dead. The endangered Borneo elephants are suspected to have died of poisoning.
The dead baby-faced pygmy elephants are believed to have been members of the same family group with ages ranging from 4 to 20 years. Seven were male elephants and three were female. One of the females had a 3-month-old calf that was found at its mother side, desperately trying to wake her up.
Wildlife officials believe the cause of death is poisoning since post-mortem examinations showed that the poor creatures suffered severe hemorrhages and ulcers in their gastrointestinal tracts before they died. It’s not yet clear if these pygmy elephants were deliberately poisoned or had eaten something poisonous.
In the past these elephants have been poached and killed for their tusks. In the case of these 10 deaths, the tusks were intact and there were no gunshot wounds.
Sabah state environmental minister Masidi Manjun said in a statement, "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."
According to the WWF wildlife group, it’s estimated that there are fewer than 1,500 Borneo pygmy elephants left. They grow to about eight feet tall and have large ears and long tails.