Elelphant Found Dead After Being Decapitated By Poachers
Local conservation officials say that the Sumatran elephant - an endangered subspecies - was a 40-year-old male, and was likely to have been the victim of poaching for his tusks as part of the illegal wildlife trade.
The corpse was found on Monday in Riau by a plantation worker, who reported it to authorities. They believe the elephant had been dead for up to a week before it was discovered.
As reported by The Daily Mail, the head of local conservation agency Suharyono released a statement on Tuesday.
It read: "The elephant's head had been cut off and its severed trunk was found a metre away from the body. We suspect the elephant was hunted and killed and then its head was cut off to remove the tusks."
The agency added that it was looking for those responsible.
It's estimated that just 2,000 Sumatran elephants exist in the wild, with deforestation and poaching generally cited as the biggest dangers to the existence of the animals.
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According to the WWF, when fully grown the animals weigh about five tons and can be found in both Borneo and Sumatra.
Poaching of elephants is rampant in south-east Asia. Earlier this year, an endangered pygmy elephant was found dead with 70 bullets in its body after being killed by poachers.
The Borneo pygmy elephant was found in a river in Sabah, Malaysia - its body was tied to a tree.
It was spotted by a group of fishermen who alerted authorities.
Vets carried out a postmortem, which revealed it was killed when a bullet pierced its temple - in total, it was shot 70 times at close range. Vets said there was no way of knowing how long the animal suffered before dying as they were unable to determine the order in which the shots were fired.
The postmortem also found that the animal's tusks had been sawn off.
A source close to Sabah Wildlife Department told Straits Times: "It was found tied to a riverbank and more than half of the elephant's body was underwater.
"It is not sure whether the elephant suffered greatly before dying, but one bullet went right through the left temple."
Poaching remains the key threat to the species' survival in Sabah, despite it being illegal and offenders facing heavy consequences.
Featured Image Credit: Indonesian Natural Resourches Co