KOTA KINABALU, SABAH – Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal wants necessary and appropriate action be taken to put a stop to more unnecessary deaths of Sabah’s endanger wildlife.
The directive came following the deaths of six Borneo pygmy elephants over a space of a month since early April and May 20.
“I want the Sabah Wildlife Department to conduct a thorough probe on these deaths and take necessary and appropriate action to stop more of such unnecessary deaths that endanger our wildlife,” he said in a statement issued upon his arrival from Kuala Lumpur at 3.30pm, Monday.
In addition, Shafie has also directed the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister YB Christina Liew to immediately get a briefing on the situation and see how best to fast-track all necessary efforts to protect the wildlife.
“I read with great sadness the deaths of six Borneo pygmy elephants over a space of a month,” he said.
“If real measures had been taken to check on human-elephant conflict as well as other issues including poaching, the deaths of these endangered gentle giants of Sabah, with one as young as a year-old, would not have occurred.
“I understand from news reports that the cause of deaths of the elephants since early April and May 20 has yet to be established,” he said.
He went on to say that the Parti Warisan Sabah government is committed towards the preservation and conservation of Sabah’s wildlife and natural resources.
“I am aware much has been said and perhaps done by the past government. However, the deaths of the elephants, whether by poaching or other causes continue unabated.
“Perhaps, the previous government did not have the political will to push through more drastic actions that would affect big logging companies and plantations? I don’t know why it still occurs after so many claims of solutions from the previous government,” he said.
“I do not want lip service. I want to see short and long-term conservation plans drawn up to be implemented on a fast track basis. The Warisan government will facilitate such efforts and not bow down to pressure from any groups.
“Here, I want to see that Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Forestry Department work closely together towards protecting the wildlife and forests.
“They should also work with NGOs in fast-tracking forest corridors without fear of business interest of individuals,” he said.
He said he believe that the network is there for the implementation but there has been little will in the past to push it through.
The latest incident was reported following the discovery of an elephant carcass, believed to be a baby elephant, floating in Sungai Kinabatangan on Saturday.
Sabah Wildlife Department Director Augustine Tuuga was quoted as saying that they take such cases very seriously.