Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sumatran elephant 'poisoned' in Indonesia palm plantation

BANDA ACEH: A critically endangered elephant has been found dead in a palm oil plantation on Indonesia's Sumatra island in what is suspected to be a deliberate poisoning, an official said Friday (Jul 13).

The 10-year-old female Sumatran elephant was found in Jambo Reuhat village in North Aceh on Thursday - the third of its species to be found dead of suspected poisoning in the same palm plantation since 2015.

"We found fruits and a pouch with traces of powder inside the animal," Aceh conservation centre head Sapto Aji Prabowo told AFP.

"We suspect the death was caused by deliberate poisoning because her liver and spleen turned dark, a classic sign of poison," he added.

A group of veterinarians was deployed to the location after authorities were tipped off by locals.

Officials estimated the animal had been dead for three days when the carcass was discovered.

Sumatran elephants are a critically endangered species. Rampant deforestation to create plantations has reduced their natural habitat and brought them into conflict with humans.

At least 11 wild elephants died in Aceh last year, most of them killed by humans.

Earlier in June a tame Sumatran elephant was found dead from apparent poisoning in East Aceh district with its tusks missing.

Officials found the remains of fruits laced with poison inside the animal during the autopsy.

The environment ministry estimates only around 500 Sumatran elephant remain in Aceh.

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