An endangered Borneo pygmy elephant has been found dead in Malaysia with 70 bullets in its carcass and its tusks removed.
The male elephant was found floating in a river in Sabah on Wednesday after fisherman discovered the corpse tied to a tree.
A post-mortem examination discovered the poor creature had been shot 70 times at close range, including one shot in its left temple that ultimately killed the magnificent animal.
It’s not known in which order the bullets entered the elephant’s body or how long the poor creature was left to suffer before dying, however the examiner did say the death would have been instantaneous when it was shot in the temple.
According to reports in the MailOnline, Sabah Wildlife Department Director Augustine Tuuga said the animal’s death was ‘cruel’, regardless of how long it suffered.
A video shows the heartbreaking conditions in which the animal was found – mostly submerged in murky brown water and tied to the bank by a string.
The organisation said a fisherman alerted authorities, who then used heavy machinery from a nearby farm to get the body out of the water. It was then taken for a post-mortem, which confirmed the tusks had been immediately removed.
Police are now hunting for a group of at least four or five poachers who they believe are responsible for the killing.
There are believed to be only around 1,500 pygmy elephants left in the wild, and the species is completely protected under Malaysian law.
Anyone found guilty of killing one of the animals could be jailed for five years or face a fine up to $60,000.