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Fourteenth rare Borneo pygmy elephant found dead

Published on Jan 31, 2013 3:47 PM
This handout photo taken and released by the Sabah Wildlife Department on Jan 29, 2013, shows a wildlife department official assisting a baby elephant to drink water next to a dead pygmy elephant (R) in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve, some 130km from Tawau in Malaysia's Sabah state. Fourteen endangered pygmy elephants have been found dead this month in Malaysian Borneo and are thought to have been poisoned. -- PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A fourteenth rare Borneo pygmy elephant has been found dead of suspected poisoning, Malaysian officials said on Thursday, the latest in a series of fatalities that has shaken conservation efforts.

Meanwhile, an official warned that a three-month-old baby elephant, poignantly photographed trying to nuzzle its dead mother, was losing weight fast and may not survive.

The decomposed remains of the latest known victim were located on Wednesday, said Laurentius Ambu, director of the wildlife department in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island.

Officials believe the animals may have been poisoned, possibly by substances left out by workers at nearby oil palm plantations to deter the animals from eating their palm fruit.

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