Toxic constituents were intentionally added to the food eaten by the Bornean pygmy elephants that were found dead at the Gunung Rara forest reserve in Tawau, early this year.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said a toxicology analysis by the Queensland Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry in Australia discovered from the liver samples of two elephants and a sample of white powder at a location where another elephant was found dead, showed a high level of heavy metal such as arsenic, cadmium, iron and chromium.
"The combination of such metals is usually found in mines, foundries, garbage and toxic waste dumping sites. There are no activities of such nature in the area so the phenomenon is just incomprehensible," he said in his winding up speech for the ministry at the Sabah State Assembly session in Likas, here Thursday.
Fourteen Bornean elephants were found dead at the forest reserve, about 139km from Tawau, in January this year.
Masidi said the findings by pathologists from the veterinary faculty at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Thailand suggested that caustic or toxic elements had damaged the elephants' digestive system.
He said analysis by the Chemistry department of Malaysia and Ramathibodi Poison Centre, Thailand on the elephants' kidneys, spleen and lymphoid tissues supported the findings although they could not trace the presence of toxic elements. More....