Rare “Saber-toothed” Elephant Discovered In Malaysia


Wildlife experts in Malaysia happened upon this extraordinary elephant with “saber-tooth” tusks.

A rare pygmy elephant displaying tusks growing downwards, rather than upwards as is usually the case in elephants, was found in Sabah on the island of Borneo. The oddly shaped tusks gave the tiny elephant a “saber-tooth” appearance which was rather baffling to experts.

The Sabah Wildlife Department’s assistant director Sen Nathan said, “It is very rare. We’re not exactly sure why the tusks are like that but it could be a congenital defect or maybe because of inbreeding.”

Unfortunately, this rare elephant was brutally slaughtered for his ivory.

Tusks facing in the normal outward position. Image: Yathin S Krishnappa

Only about 2,000 elephants remain in Sabah; the biggest threat in this region is habitat loss due to human encroachment, not poaching. Logging and land-clearing are leaving little room for any wildlife.

The World Wildlife Fund website tells us, “As in many tropical areas around the world, Borneo’s rainforests are being cut and degraded for timber, palm oil, pulp, rubber and minerals. The increase in these activities is being matched by a growth in illegal wildlife trade, as cleared forests provide easy access to more remote areas.”

Because wildlife populations are so limited, we will probably start seeing more of these effects of inbreeding.

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