KOTA KINABALU, Oct 2 — The source who provided vital information that led to the arrest of six suspects in the killing of a juvenile Borneo pygmy elephant last week will be rewarded.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said that it was the source’s tip-off that helped Tawau police and Wildlife Department officers to solve the cruel animal killing swiftly.

“I have instructed the director of Sabah Wildlife Department to honour their pledge and pay the informer for the information provided which have led to the arrests,” she said, adding that the information provided was very accurate and vital to solving the case.

She also thanked the third parties — an anonymous donor and the UK-based Orangutan Appeal organiSation, that pledged RM10,000 each for a RM30,000 reward pool for a successful tip-off.

“My hope is that they do honour their pledge to pay the informer,” she said.

The case first received widespread attention when it was published that a group of anglers found the body of the juvenile elephant floating in Sungai Udin in Dumpas, Kalabakan. A post mortem later revealed that its body was riddled with over 70 bullet wounds including one into its skull and the elephant’s tusks were sawn off.

Subsequently, the Sabah Wildlife Department offered an RM10,000 reward for information leading to the perpetrators, which was later increased to RM30,000. Police was also roped in to assist in the investigation, dubbed Ops Khazanah.

Earlier today, police said that they solved the case of the illegal killing of the elephant with the arrest of six suspects — including one illegal immigrant.

Investigators seized three guns, including one licensed pump gun, one homemade shotgun, and an air rifle.

Two of the men were hired as guards to prevent elephant intrusions into the Felda plantation, while at least one was a Felda worker. Another suspect was roped in to saw off the tusk and hide it by burying it on Felda’s Umas Merotai land.

Tawau district police assistant commissioner Peter Umbuas said that they have yet to discover whether it was a syndicate behind the crime and if there are more involved.

He did not discount the possibility of more arrests in the future.