KOTA KINABALU, Feb 23 – A rogue bull elephant that attacked a woman in Kampung Gambaron, Telupid, has been captured and will soon have a new “home” built within the village. Captured by the Sabah Wildlife Department’s (SWD) Wildlife Rescue Unit at 6.20pm yesterday, the 20-year-old jumbo will be staying at the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary for close observation.
According to SWD director William Baya, they decided not to relocate the elephant for fear that it might pose a similar danger at its new home. “Our SWD’s Wildlife Rescue Unit team, led by veterinarian Dr Laura Benedict, tranquillised the elephant with a dart yesterday evening along Jalan Tongod, 2km from Kampung Gambaron, and restrained it, three days after the attack.”
He said the elephant, standing at 7 feet 6 inches, had been placed at the sanctuary so that the team can further observe its behaviour before deciding the next course of action. Baya said there were no physical signs of musth normally seen in bull elephants, such as oil discharge from the temporal lobe or dribbling urine, which could explain its aggressive behaviour. “But we will continue to monitor its condition,” said Baya.
On Jan 19, the jumbo attacked 57-year-old Justina Ompang while she was walking to work with her husband, Khunyan Basimah, 40, when the couple came across the bull elephant standing by the roadside. Khunyan’s screams saved his wife’s life, as the elephant immediately stopped attacking Justina and ran back into the forest. As a result, Justina sustained bruises on her upper torso and was discharged the same day.