Malaysia seeks more tests for dead pygmy elephantsThe Associated Press | February 09,2013KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — An initial chemical analysis on 14 Borneo pygmy elephants that died mysteriously could not conclusively determine if they were poisoned, and more tests will be conducted abroad, an official said Friday.
The endangered elephants were found dead last month in a protected forest in Sabah state on Borneo. Sabah is home to most of the remaining 1,200 Borneo pygmy elephants that exist worldwide. The elephants are feared to have been poisoned because they encroached on Malaysian plantations.
Sabah Environment Minister Masidi Manjun said the state’s wildlife department would send samples to forensic testing facilities in Thailand and Australia for more comprehensive tests to determine the cause of the elephants’ deaths.
“To ensure greater transparency of the entire issue, my ministry will be seeking a second opinion from other laboratories,” he said in a statement.
Samples will be sent immediately to the Ramathibodi Poison Center at Thailand’s Mahidol University and the chemistry lab of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Australia, he said.
Masidi said he had also directed the state’s chemistry department to expand its scope of tests on more possible chemical contaminants. Department veterinarians have said the elephants suffered severe bleeding and gastrointestinal ulcers.
The wildlife group WWF said last week that the dead elephants were found in areas being converted for plantations within permanent forest reserves, raising the prospect that they were deliberately killed by humans taking over their habitat.
Sabah, one of two Malaysian states on Borneo island, is home to endangered animals including the pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhinoceros and orangutan. Wildlife activists say their numbers have dwindled in recent decades because of illegal poaching and the loss of jungles cut down for timber and development.
Some 60 percent of Sabah is currently under forest cover, but activists say the deforestation rate is rising, with large forest areas slated for conversion to farmland or timber concession.
Masidi said police were in the midst of a very thorough investigation, including probing plantations and logging companies within the vicinity where the dead elephants were found. Two palm oil plantations and a logging company operate in the area.
“I hope people would refrain from jumping to conclusions at this point of time and wait until the case is fully investigated to avoid innocent parties being unfairly implicated,” he said.MORE IN Wire NewsWASHINGTON — The Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex, is... Full StoryWASHINGTON — The chairman of a special House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1393, quick thinking teen girl saves King Charles IV of France from burning alive at masquerade ball; in 1760, Vermont town of Pownal created by N.H. Gov. Benning Wentworth; Canuplin, Filipino movie star, born.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day, 1700, Cascadia Earthquake, Magnitude 9 plus, strikes West Coast with tsunami effects felt as far away as Japan; in 1885, troops loyal to Sudanese Mohammad Ahmad conquer Khartoum; in 1992, Boris Yeltsin untargets U.S.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 971 AD, Southern Han war elephant corps defeated by Song Dynasty troops bowmen; in 1870, Montana, Marias massacre, U.S. kills 173 Native Americans; in 1941, Charles Lindbergh recommends neutrality pact with Nazis.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Bryanna Allen reports Castleton Downtown hosts open house, fire in Springfield leaves family without a roof of their own, suspected Bosnian war criminal trial goes to jury, Brent Curtis reports Rutland Town budget set to rise.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Bill in Legislature proposes naming beagle Vermont state dog; Associated Press looks back at year in opiate abuse; Shapiro's in Brandon soon to close after 75 years; probe shows illegal online gun sales booming.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1861, JEFFERSON DAVIS resigns from the U.S. Senate to become president of the Confederate States of America, in 1908, NYC passes law forbidding women from smoking in public; in 1968, B-52 crashes, loses H-bomb.