|Borneo Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Rare pygmy elephants 'poisoned' in Borneo
Ten endangered pygmy elephants have been found dead in a reserve in Malaysia, with officials saying they may have been poisoned.
In one instance, a three-month-old calf was found alongside the body of its mother, apparently trying to wake her.
Sabah Environmental Minister Masidi Manjun said it was "a sad day for conservation and Sabah".
Sen Nathan, head veterinarian at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Malaysia's Sabah state on the island of Borneo, said the elephants were all thought to be part of the same family group, and were aged between four and 20.
The bodies of four were found last week but then officials found another four animals dead or dying two days later.
Laurentius Ambu, Sabah's wildlife department director, said two "highly decomposed elephant carcasses" had been found earlier in the year.
"We believe that all the deaths of these elephants are related," he said.
The animals still had their tusks, indicating that they had not been killed by poachers, and none had gunshot wounds.