Rare Sumatran elephant found dead in Indonesia’s Aceh

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A rare Sumatran elephant has been found dead in Indonesia’s Aceh province after apparently eating fertilizer, an official said.

The body of the 6-year-old male was found in a coffee plantation in Pidie district on Tuesday, said Genman Hasibuan, the head of the provincial Nature Conservancy Agency.

“We suspect he died of accidental poisoning because we found splattered fertilizer urea nearby,” left behind by a farmer in his hut, Hasibuan said.

The body had no sign of physical injury and still had his tusks, he said.

Hasibuan said eight Sumatran elephants had been found dead in Aceh this year, mostly by poisoning by poachers, who removed their tusks. No one has been arrested, he said.

There are about only 2,400-2,800 Sumatran elephants in the wild, including 500 in Aceh, according to the WWF conservation group. The population has dropped an estimated 80 per cent in the last three generations, or 75 years, according to conservation group IUCN.

Poaching and the destruction of their habitat for plantations and farmland have been blamed for the dwindling population.

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