Statements from local residents will be used to help the investigation process. On Thursday, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun confirmed the death of 14 Borneo pygmy elephants in the Rara Forest Reserve.
"We suspect poison was spread over the area by plantation workers," said the head of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Laurentius Ambu. "We are waiting for lab results to determine if the elephants died of poisoning or bacterial infection."
"Poisoning elephants is a very common practice in these parts of the world," said Barney Long, the World Wildlife Fund's Asian species expert. "The elephants are usually poisoned with bait such as pineapple, palm oil or bananas. The poison is fast-acting and can kill up to a whole herd."