In a report by The Star, not one but two endangered Borneo pygmy elephants are believed to have died at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. One of the adolescent elephant was rescued 13 years ago from the Lahad Datu’s Yapid plantation and died two days ago while a four-year-old calf is believed to have died on 7 May.
It is learnt that the calf which was born in captivity was sick for a while before it died but sources said that wildlife veterinarians are still confused as to the main cause of the deaths of the two elephants in captivity. In their post-mortem reports, there were no indications for the cause of the deaths.
Suspiciously, Wildlife Department officials remained silent over the deaths amid recent calls by animal activists for improvements at the park which serves as a rescue and rehabilitation centre for wildlife. The incident of deaths in captivity were worrying and needed to be addressed immediately, said the sources.
Earlier in June, Friends of Orang Utan director Upreshpal Singh raised concerns about the conditions of animals at the Lok Kawi Zoo but Sabah Wildlife Department dismissed the allegations that animals at the park are being kept under poor conditions. Its director Augustine Tuuga said this was the second time that such an accusation had surfaced, and added that the animals were “well-looked after”.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew, in a surprise visit to the zoo following the complaints, also said that all was good at the park.
To make things worst, at least seven elephants in the wild have also died due to unknown causes in April and May this year in various areas in the east coast of Sabah. This prompted Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal to call on wildlife officials to investigate thoroughly the cause as well as take serious steps in stopping the deaths of the critically endangered elephants.
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