The Bornean elephant is a subspecies of Asian Elephants. These elephants only exist in a small region of Borneo. Their presence has been a mystery on the southeastern Asian island. Scientists have researched a lot about that and concluded that elephants might have arrived on Borneo at a time of the last land bridge between the Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia.
Till now there have been two contrasting theories about origin of Bornean elephants. There are historic evidences that reflect about offering elephants as gifts to the Bornean Sultan by neighbor Sultans in the 17th century. On the other hand, a genetic study showed that the DNA of Bornean elephants were very different from that of other Asian elephants about 15 years ago. It suggests they might have been separated about 300,000 years ago. It is also very surprising that no elephant fossils have been discovered in Borneo yet. To understand these all mysteries the genetic data analysis and computational modeling have been used. The most convincing scenario is that of natural colonization of Borneo around 11,400 to 18,300 years ago. It is the period when the sea levels were very low and elephants could migrate between the Sunda Islands, which are a Southeastern Asia archipelago to which Borneo belongs. But there may be some other reasons too that are yet to be discovered. The life of Bornean elephants is in danger as they are being poisoned. It is required to have long-term conservation policy to save their entity.
By: Anita Aishvarya