BANDA ACEH, Indonesia: Three critically-endangered Sumatran elephants were found dead in an oil palm plantation in western Indonesia and are believed to have been poisoned, local environmental group Fakta said yesterday.
Villagers found them in a government-owned oil palm plantation in the eastern part of Aceh province. They were estimated to be four and five-year-olds, chief Rabono Wiranata said.
“We suspect that they died after consuming bars of soap laced with poison we found near the carcass. It seems they have died around one week.”
Elephants are usually killed by villagers, who regard them as pests that destroy their plantations, or by poachers for their tusks.
There are fewer than 3,000 Sumatran elephants in the wild, according to International Union for Conservation of Nature, marking a 50 per cent drop in numbers since 1985.
Game rangers, meanwhile, killed a poacher and seized 28 tusks during a weekend raid in the northeastern town of Binga in Zimbabwe, a wildlife official said. An assault rifle, 67 rounds of ammunition, a mobile and two Zambian sim cards were also recovered.