Seven pygmy elephants died, while two others were rescued, after they became stuck in a mud pool near a logging site in Borneo, a state wildlife official said Wednesday.
Five of the elephants were already dead when wildlife officers found them on Saturday, trapped in the mud pool in the remote village of Tawau, state wildlife director Augustine Tuuga said in a statement.
The two others have to be euthanized because they were already very weak, severely dehydrated and blind, he added.
The pachyderms could have been stuck in the 3-metre deep mud pool for a week, according to Tuuga.
“The elephants could have possibly gone into the mud pool to cool themselves and bathe, but had not anticipated the depth and thickness of the mud, which became like quicksand,” he said.
Tuuga said his office had to use heavy equipment to rescue the two adult elephant survivors.
Pygmy elephants are a protected species in Malaysia. However, their numbers are dwindling due to destruction of their natural habitats.