Pygmy Elephants

Until September 2003 the existence of Elephants in Sabah was still a topic of controversy.

Some believed Borneo elephants descended from tame elephants bought over from mainland Asia that were presented as gifts to the Sultan of Sulu in the 17th century.

Others believed the Borneo elephants could be remnants of larger populations of elephants that roamed Borneo and Sumatra when they were linked during the ice ages (more than 10,000 years ago). DNA evidence now shows that Borneo pygmy elephants are a distinct subspecies and have existed here some 300,000 years.

Compared to their Asian cousins, Borneo pygmy elephants are smaller in size, have larger ears, babyish faces and are milder tempered. Still very little is know about them.

How many Pygmy elephants are there? Do Pygmy elephants form the same matriarchal societies as other elephants? Why do Pygmy elephants live only in a tiny pocket of forest on the northeast tip of Borneo?

It is estimated that only 1,500 individual Pygmy elephants exist and that they are seriously endangered as their habitat is prime land for palm plantations.

Our images below were taken along the Kinabatangan River in Sabah, Borneo. At the time of writing they have yet to be officially and scientifically named.

Each Borneo Pygmy Elephant image is available for sale as a photographic print or high resolution digital image. If you would like to purchase any of the images you encounter in our Borneo Pygmy Elephant photo collections, please do email us.

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