(ANIMAL NEWS) Three young Sumatran elephants were found dead last week in the Sumatran province of Aceh, suspected to be the victims of poisoning. With less than 3,000 animals left in the wild, the critically endangered species is under threat due to habitat loss from palm and paper plantations, and are often killed by villagers who consider the animals pests or by poachers in search of ivory. Read on for more on this latest unfortunate event. — Global Animal

Photo Credit: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

AFP via Yahoo News

Three critically-endangered Sumatran elephants have been found dead in an oil palm plantation in western Indonesia and are believed to have been poisoned, an NGO said Saturday.

Villagers found the dead animals on Thursday in a government-owned oil palm plantation in the eastern part of Aceh province. They were estimated to be four and five years old, local environmental group Fakta said.

“We suspected that they died after consuming bars of soap laced with poison we found near the carcass,” the group’s chief Rabono Wiranata told AFP.

“It seems that the elephants have died around one week,” he said.

The animals are usually either killed by villagers, who regard the beasts as pests that destroy their plantations, or by poachers for their tusks.

Early last month, two other Sumatran elephants were found dead in the west of the province.

There are fewer than 3,000 Sumatran elephants remaining in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, marking a 50 percent drop in numbers since 1985.

WWF changed the Sumatran elephant’s status from “endangered” to “critically endangered” in January, largely due to severe habitat loss driven by oil palm and paper plantations.

Conflicts between humans and animals are increasing as people encroach on wildlife habitats in Indonesia, an archipelago with some of the world’s largest remaining tropical forests.

More Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/three-rare-elephants-found-dead-indonesia-174500229.html

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4 COMMENTS

  1. This is a really depressing story, but one I’ve heard before in that locals view the animals as crop / livelihood destroyers and killing them is the only solution they can think of. Thankfully animal and conservation charities like WWF and WSPA try to help educate and show that there are better ways of doing thing. One example I can think of recently relates to the death of a British lady to rabies in India and how that’s brought to light again how badly the Indian authorities deal with the rabies problem. Sporadic and inhumane mass dog culls are not the solution, and WSPA advocate that sterilisation and vaccination are how to deal with and control rabies. This has proven successful in other countries, so they’re pushing India to change tactic. I wonder what methods WWF will use to try and help these beautiful elephants so that the people they live and share land with can co-exist without more cruel deaths that are only tipping the balance towards the worrying outcome of full-on extinction.