By S.M. Mohd Idris [Opinion\
It looks like the answers into the death of Sabah’s 14 pygmy elephants will be buried together with the dead elephants forever. It has been more than a year and state tourism, culture and environment minister Masidi Manjun, the state wildlife department, the police, and others are still keeping silent as to who was responsible for their deaths and why no arrests made.
When news of the deaths first broke there was much hue and cry from all parties concerned, but eventually all interests came to an end. The authorities are accountable to the Malaysian public and their stoic silence does not bode well for their reputation unless they decide to sweep this hideous crime under the carpet.
Even before a conclusive finding leading to the arrest of the culprits responsible for the death of the 14 pygmies, news have again surfaced of growing concern over two rescued female Borneo Pygmy elephant calves found wondering in two plantations in Kinabatangan. Again poison is being suspected as the cause of the calves wandering away from their mothers.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is duly concerned over the increasing trend in the number of elephants being either killed or poisoned. Do Masidi and the state wildlife department realise the gravity of this situation? What would be the consequences for Sabah’s wildlife if culprits and those responsible for the killing of elephants get away scot free?
The wildlife department and the authorities must respond promptly to any deaths in plantations using people with the skills and knowledge to identify which industry is responsible for land clearing, search for evidence of poisoning, conduct interviews and conduct tests on bodies and clothes that were contaminated.
Do the authorities think they can ride out the storm and hope that the issue will be easily forgotten? SAM and the Malaysian public have a right to question and seek transparency from the government, the wildlife department, the police and other agencies that are linked to the vicious killing of the elephants in the past and present.