Jun 10, 2019 10:28 AM EDT
On Friday, June 7, officials have reported that three elephants were poisoned near a palm oil plantation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The said multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country is known to be the home of vast tracts of rain forests and its wide variety of exotic wildlife. This would include tigers, orangutans, elephants, and other exotic creatures. However, there has been a dramatic fall in the number of many rare species as observed in the past few decades.
The three elephants' death was the latest case reported concerning endangered creatures that were killed near human settlements. The said elephants were believed to be part of a herd of about 30 elephants that occupy the nearby forest reserve.
Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim, the director general for the Wildlife in National Parks Development, stated that the officers were alerted on Tuesday, June 4, by the local police in Southern Johor state.
Hashim stated that the three elephants, with ages between 18 and 22, were poisoned as revealed by the postmortem examination they conducted on the dead animals.
The director general has expressed his shock and sadness regarding the incident. Hashim pointed out that if this trend continues, there is a possibility for the elephants to be wiped out.
Hashim stated that the electric fences that were supposed to keep the elephants away from the village crops were not functioning. This has allowed the creatures to trespass on to the plantations. Recently, there has been an increase in elephant killings in Malaysia seen as a result of human settlements or agricultural plantations that have encroached into the habitat of the creatures.
In 2018, there were six pygmy elephants found poisoned to death in palm oil plantations in the eastern Sabah area.
Xavier Jayakumar Arulanandam, the current Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources of Malaysia, stated that samples of the elephants' liver and kidney were still being examined to determine what type of poison was used.
Conservationists are concerned that in Malaysia, there are only about an estimated 1500 wild elephants left because of the rising number of deaths among the creatures.
Many of the endangered animals in Malaysia are being hunted for their body parts. The hunts' yields would fetch a high price in China and in other places in Asia as these are being used for traditional medicine.
Hashim has expressed his distaste of the recent incident, regarding it as a criminal act of cruelty. He has also issued a warning to the culprits responsible for the poisoning of the elephants. The director general later added that they will be 'hunting' the said culprits.
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