Body Of Endangered Pygmy Elephant Found With 70 Bullet Wounds
An endangered pygmy elephant has been found dead with 70 bullets in its body after being killed by poachers.
It was spotted by a group of fishermen who alerted authorities.
Vets carried out a postmortem, which revealed it was killed when a bullet pierced its temple - in total, it was short 70 times in close range. Vets said there's no way of knowing how it long suffered before dying as they are unable to determine what order the shots were fired.
The postmortem also found that the animal's tusks had been sawn off.
A source close to Sabah Wildlife Department told Straits Times: "It was found tied to a riverbank and more than half of the elephant's body was underwater.
"It is not sure whether the elephant suffered greatly before dying, but one bullet went right through the left temple."
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga called the killing 'cruel', the Straits Times reports.
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Police in the area say they believe a group of at least four or five poachers were responsible and are now on the hunt.
Anyone found guilty of killing a pygmy elephant - which is a protected species in Malaysia - could be sentenced to five years in jail or face a hefty fine of up to £48,800 ($60,000).
Tuuga said at least 100 pygmy elephants have died in the past 10 years, with some being killed deliberately by being shot or poisoned, often to remove their tusks, which can sell for hundreds of pounds.
In an attempt to raise awareness of the plight elephants face, one photographer recently shared horrific images of poached elephant.
South African photographer Justin Sullivan, shared a drone-shot image titled Disconnection, which showed the bloody corpse of an African elephant alongside its severed trunk. Its tusks had been brutally removed.
Speaking about his shocking shot, Justin said: "The image has drawn a lot of attention. People have obviously reacted with mixed feelings of anger and sadness, especially with the recent lift on the hunting ban in Botswana, but this photo has driven some constructive dialogue around how we can promote more sustainable elephant conversation and solve our current ecological crisis."
Featured Image Credit: Sabah Wildlife Department