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The Remembering Sheena Campaign (RSC) is shocked and distressed over the death of Mat Chepor, the orphaned elephant calf that was found at Kampung Chepor, in Lenggong.

The needless death of this elephant calf once again highlights the fact that our Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) officers and others entrusted with the care and protection of wildlife and domestic pets do not have the most basic knowledge to do the job.

The veterinarian who certified his death said Mat Chepor had died of exhaustion and dehydration. Although the calf was located in the morning, the veterinarian did not even get to the scene until late in the night. This is sheer incompetence on the part of Perhilitan and could have been totally avoided.

If Perhilitan did not know how to intelligently move Mat Chepor, they should have sought the expertise of the Malaysian Nature Society, a local NGO with a better track record for being caring and knowledgeable about animals. Instead, their incompetence has killed this innocent calf.

Anyone who claims to have experience in animal welfare would know that a baby elephant would dehydrate when dragged for hours from one place to another. Adequate preparations should have been made, and rest and water provided to him.

Our entire education system and websites of the Department of Veterinary Services and Perhilitan have hardly anything on the issue of 'animal welfare which only goes to show how little this matters to them.

Unless these people have some love for animals, they will forever blunder and be incompetent in their jobs because they see them (the animals) as products to be used and discarded when they no longer function effectively.

We know of children who pick up injured birds, cats and puppies and nurse them back to health. They have no veterinary training, but are able to do this simply because their love for animals magically helps them understand what is hurting their wards.

Didn't Perhilitan staff know that all animal need not just food but water too? They were so quick to draw 'positive' publicity and give themselves a pat on the back when they were featured in the media but will they now conduct an investigation into the death of the calf?

When will it all end? When will domestic pets and wildlife be cared for and protected by intelligent, educated and experienced personnel?

It was a sad day and a disgrace to all Malaysians when Mat Chepor died at the hands of the very people entrusted with his care. In seeming to protect and care for Mat Chepor, ignorant Perhilitan staff had killed him instead.

But as 'blur' as they are, I bet they will miss the whole point of this letter and go to bed proud that their names and faces appeared in the newspapers. The rest of us, however, will continue to grieve and pray that dawn will finally rise for animals in Malaysia.