JOHOR BARU: Action can be taken against those responsible for the deaths of a cow and three bull elephants in a fruit orchard at Kahang Timur in Kluang.

Johor health and environment committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said the state Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) is still awaiting the full post-mortem result of the four dead elephants.

“Initial post-mortem reports found that the elephants’ cause of death may be due to respiratory and circulatory failure caused by bleeding, which led to the accumulation of blood in various organs.

“Samples taken from the elephants’ carcasses have been sent to the laboratory to determine the cause of death. There is a possibility that the elephants died from poisoning.

“However, the causative agent has not yet been identified, and we are still awaiting laboratory test results,” he told pressmen after officiating the Johor Bersih Sungai Skudai programme held at Kampung Bakar Batu near Perling on Sunday (June 9).

Ling, who is the Yong Peng assemblyman, urged the public to give Perhilitan space to carry out a thorough investigation into the elephants’ deaths.

“If there is strong evidence, we can take action against those responsible for the elephants’ deaths. There are laws we can use against them,” he added.

On Tuesday (June 4), preliminary reports indicated that the cow and three bull elephants recently found dead in Kluang belonged to the Bandar Tenggara herd that roamed the Lenggor, Kluang, Kluang Tambahan, Labir and Sembrong forest reserves in Johor and Taman Negara Endau Rompin, Pahang.

Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said these primary habitats were surrounded by agricultural areas, plantations and residential settlements.

“Elephant habitats and roaming areas are crucial to supporting the elephant population, as habitat loss due to land use changes for agriculture, plantations, settlements, urbanisation and infrastructure development results in human-elephant conflicts.

“Human-elephant conflicts can lead to the destruction of agricultural crops, property damage, injuries and loss of life,” he said in a statement on Saturday (June 8).

Johor Perhilitan director Aminuddin Jamin reported that post-mortems would be conducted to determine the cause of death of the four elephants found dead in a fruit orchard in Kahang Timur, Kluang.

Nik Nazmi urged anyone with information regarding the incident to contact Perhilitan through their hotline at 1800 88 5151.

“Further investigations are underway, and Perhilitan is also conducting inspections and monitoring around the area,” he added.

According to Perhilitan’s records, there were 646 human-elephant conflict complaints in Johor from 2020 to May 2024, with 292 of those complaints involving the Kluang district.

Current data estimates the elephant population in Johor to be between 120 and 160.

“Elephants are one of the country’s iconic wildlife species and are fully protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716),” he added.

He said the government was proactive in preserving and conserving wildlife habitats through several initiatives, such as developing the National Elephant Conservation Action Plan 2023-2030.