Felda confirms employee and settlers arrested, affirms zero-tolerance for animal cruelty

Felda confirmed one of its officers and two settlers have been detained by police from the Tawau district headquarters in Sabah, in relation to the shooting of a pygmy elephant on September 25. — iStock.com pic via AFP
Felda confirmed one of its officers and two settlers have been detained by police from the Tawau district headquarters in Sabah, in relation to the shooting of a pygmy elephant on September 25. — iStock.com pic via AFP

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) has gone on record to state its zero-tolerance policy against animal cruelty, with severe action against any of its employees and settlers who are caught for the offence.

It confirmed one of its officers and two settlers have been detained by police from the Tawau district headquarters in Sabah, in relation to the shooting of a pygmy elephant on September 25.

“The officer and settlers are among six suspects currently detained on suspicion of involvement in the incident. Felda for its part is co-operating with the police in the ongoing investigation,” the agency said in a statement.

In addition to its zero-tolerance towards animal cruelty, Felda said animal killings are resolutely opposed to the Protection and Environmental Care Policy, which is one of its 15 Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MPSO) policies.

“Felda's management also has standard operating procedures for wildlife control, including for elephants which frequently occurs on Felda areas. This includes electrical fencing, elephant ditches, and moving elephants if necessary without posing a risk to their lives.

“Felda also has an active working relationship with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in preparing training and seminars for its employees, to raise their skills and preparedness in handling any threats from wildlife towards plantations,” it said.

Felda reiterated its commitment to sustainable plantation management by adhering to all guidelines and laws related to environmental preservation, which it said is evident with 163 of its plans certified by MPSO.

The elephant's carcass was found along Sungai Udin in Tawau, shot multiple times at close range and its two tusks removed. It was later established the elephant was killed using semi-automatic firearms.

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