KOTA KINABALU: The Bajau Laut sea nomads are believed to have butchered some 100 turtles discovered scattered on the beaches of Kampung Pantau-Pantau, Kampung Amboh-Amboh and Kampung Sampolan at Pulau Bum-Bum, Semporna recently.
Commenting on images of Responding to photographs of the turtle skeletons that went viral on social media yesterday, Sabah Wildlife director Augustine Tuuga said an investigating team dispatched to the island today found eight turtle carcasses and one floating in the sea.
“The turtle carcasses were no longer in the area they were initially found, believed to have been washed away into the sea.
“Further investigation in coastal villages around the island revealed that the poaching activities (by Bajau Laut people) have been going on for quite some time,” he said in a statement here last night.
Tuuga said investigation is ongoing and several suspects have been identified.
The investigating team comprised members from Semporna Police, Marine Police, Sabah Parks, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Omadal Island Women Association.
On another case, Tuuga said the department was investigating the death of an elephant found floating in the Kinabatangan River by a tourist guide on a river cruise with a group of tourists on Sept 25 (Monday).
He said the elephant carcass was brought to land where a post mortem was conducted by the department’s veterinary officer.
“The elephant was a male, estimated to be 15-20 years old, believed to have died or been killed three days earlier (Sept 22).
“Initial inspection found that both tusks were missing with evidence of clean cut, while the left hind limb was missing with sign of clean cut with sharp object and part of the skin of the left side of the body was removed with a sharp object.”
Tuuga revealed that the post mortem did not find any evidence of gunshot on the body and it was possible that the animal was caught in a snare trap that eventually caused it to die of exhaustion.
“Investigation is now focused on finding the possible area where the elephant died or been killed upstream the Kinabatangan river where the carcass was thrown into,” he added. – Bernama