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Malaysia orders tests abroad for dead pygmy elephants after report fails to show poisoning

A Malaysian official says an initial chemical analysis on 14 Borneo pygmy elephants that died mysteriously came back inconclusive as to whether they had been poisoned.

The endangered elephants were found dead since December in a protected forest in Sabah state on Borneo, which houses most of the remaining 1,200 Borneo pygmy elephants that exist worldwide. The elephants are feared to have been poisoned because they encroached on Malaysian plantations.

Sabah Environment Minister Masidi Manjun says the wildlife department will send samples to two forensic testing facilities in Thailand and Australia for a more comprehensive test to determine the cause of the elephants' death.

He said Friday that he has also directed the state chemistry department to expand its scope of tests on more possible chemical contaminants.