There have been a number of unfortunate incidents related to Malaysia's wildlife in recent times.
In another sad development, three adult elephants were found dead in an oil palm plantation near a village in Johor, Malaysia.
Found lying motionless near village
The elephants were reportedly found dead by villagers at Kluang, Johor on the morning of June 4, according to The New Straits Times.
Villagers then alerted the local state police, who in turn informed wildlife officers from Malaysia's Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan).
Photos of the trio lying motionless on the unpaved roads and in a grass patch have been circulating online.
Based on the size of their feet, the elephants were estimated to be around 18, 20 and 22 years old.
Poisoned to death
A post-mortem examination conducted on the carcasses found that the cause of death was poisoning.
Liver and kidney samples from the dead elephants have been sent for analysis to determine the type of poison used, reported Malay Mail.
The elephants are believed to have belonged to a wild herd of 30 individuals that inhabit the nearby Lenggor Forest Reserve.
However, the three seemed to have ventured out of their forest home, entering the more urban area near the village.
Ongoing investigations by Perhilitan revealed that the electric fencing surrounding the village and its plantations was not functioning, thus allowing the elephants to enter.
The photos below show the elephant carcasses lying in areas well within the plantation, with one elephant seeming to have fallen right outside one of the buildings.
To prevent similar incidents occurring in the future, Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar stated that Perhilitan will work with the Malaysian Palm Oil Plantation.
One of their measures would be to make the installation of electric fences around oil palm plantations near the forest reserve compulsory.
This also ensures that the elephants do not damage village areas, or crops or trees within the plantations.
Safeguarding the remaining wildlife
Director-general of Perhilitan Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim expressed shock and sadness over the incident, saying that “if this trend continues, all our wild elephants will be wiped out.”
There are only an estimated 1,500 wild elephants left in Malaysia.
He also warned:
“Culprits in this poisoning incident beware. We will hunt you.”
Top photo from Malaysia Animal Association / FB