Indonesia: Wild Elephant Found Dead in Aceh

Nurdin Hasan Jakarta Globe 10 May 13;

Banda Aceh. A 10-year-old elephant was found dead in a jungle near Bangkeh village, Pidie district, Aceh, on Thursday.

Syarkawi, the head of Pidie’s Forestry and Plantation Agency, told the Jakarta Globe on Friday that the elephant’s body was discovered by the Mane Conservation Response Unit (CRU) Team while they were trying to shoo away dozens of wild elephants disrupting the local community living near the jungle.

CRU is a program set up by non-government organization Indonesian Flora and Fauna (FFI) to manage the conflict between elephants and the local people.

“When the CRU team took five tame elephants to direct the wild elephants back into the jungle, they did not want to move, the tame elephants were screaming and headed to the location where the dead elephant was found,” he said.

Syarkawi said he estimated the elephant died on Thursday morning. The body was discovered only 500 meters away from the nearest neighborhood.

When it was found, both tusks were still in place.

“We are still waiting for Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency [BKSDA] to finish the autopsy to find out the real cause of the death,” he said.

Rosa Rika Wahyuni, a veterinarian at Aceh’s BKSDA, said local residents believe the elephant was electrocuted because of the wires found entangled on its feet.

“Some locals said the elephant died after it bit an electronic wire, there were some wires scattered in the area,” she said.

BKSDA is still conducting an examination of the elephant’s organs to determine the real cause of death.

Estimates put the number of Sumatran elephants left in the wild at fewer than 3,000, and the species is considered “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Conservationists say the remaining population is severely threatened due to habitat loss from illegal logging and palm oil plantations’ expansion.

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