KOTA KINABALU - Sabah Wildlife rangers have caught a bull elephant that injured a villager in the east coast Telupid district on Thursday.
Sabah Wildlife Department director William Baya said a team from the Wildlife Rescue Unit captured the elephant late Sunday after tracking the animal for three days.
"I am glad that our rangers have managed to capture this rogue elephant," he said Monday.
Baya said the department's veterinarian Dr Laura Benedict darted the 2.3m tall elephant at about 6.20pm after rangers tracked it down to an oil palm plantation, some two kilometres from Kampung Gambaron where the woman was attacked.
Wildlife officials were ascertaining if the elephant was in musth, a periodic condition characterised by highly aggressive behaviour accompanied by a rise in reproductive hormones.
There were no physical signs of musth normally seen in bull elephants such as oil discharge from the temporal lobe or dribbling urine.
"We will not trans-locate this elephant anywhere yet as we are worried that it might pose a similar danger somewhere else," he said.
"The plan now is to bring it to our newly built Borneo Elephant Sanctuary (BES) where it can be further observed for its behaviour before we decide on the next course of action," Baya added.
The bull elephant used its trunk to strike 57-year-old Justina Ompang when she and her husband, Khunyun Basimah, 40, encountered the animal on the roadside near their village.
The couple were used to seeing elephants that would often retreat into the nearby jungle upon seeing them.
On that morning, however, the bull elephant charged at them and used its trunk to hit Justina. Khunyan started shouting to distract the elephant and this worked, as the elephant immediately stopped attacking the wife and ran back into the forested area.
Villagers then rushed Justina to the Telupid hospital where she was treated for bruises on her upper body.