KOTA KINABALU, SABAH – The recent death of Borneo elephants in Sabah is perhaps the wakeup call needed by all parties to begin viewing the repercussions of elephant deaths in a more serious manner.
The carcasses of six Borneo elephants that were found in the east coast of Sabah within the span of less than two months is alarming. Stronger and more effective measures need to be put in place to prevent more unfortunate deaths of the endangered species.
There is a need to further strengthen the existing cooperation between government enforcement agencies and the various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), whose concerted and cohesive efforts will help to mitigate human elephant conflict in Sabah.
WWF-Malaysia also supports the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment’s previous call to amend the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 to include a strict liability provision.
This provision will reverse the burden of proof, which would no longer lie with the prosecutors.
The amendment would then mean that landowners will be held accountable should a death of an elephant occurs on their land.
“Industries and landowners need to be held more accountable for the death of elephants on their land. With more accountability, we believe that the industry players will be more inclined to take necessary measures to prevent elephant deaths as well as to conserve this iconic species,” stressed WWF-Malaysia Executive Director / CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma.
However, WWF-Malaysia recognises that more analysis needs to be made in order to decide on the viability of the amendment and whether it will be an effective measure in the long run.
WWF-Malaysia commends Sabah’s Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s recent orders for a probe on the elephant deaths.
His strong stance on the matter and calls for a thorough investigation will certainly help in finding a solution to the increasing issue of human elephant conflict in the state.
WWF-Malaysia offers its support to the state government in its conservation efforts of not only the Borneo elephants but also wildlife as a whole.
We will continue to work with government agencies and other NGOs to prevent the further loss of elephants.