June 16, 2009

Another Indonesian Elephant Found Dead

Environmental group WWF said on Monday that poachers might have used pineapples to poison and kill an endangered Sumatran elephant for its tusk.

Syamsidar, a WWF spokeswoman, told AFP that the male was found dead in a pulp plantation in Riau province, Sumatra last Friday with its tusks removed.  This is the seventh recent Indonesian elephant found dead from poaching.

"Pineapple fibers were found in its stomach. The fruit could have been poisoned," she added.

Syamsidar said the other elephants that were found dead had been killed in Riau in the last two months and two of those were found with missing tusks.

"We believe it could be the work of poachers. Cut pieces of ivory could be sold for five million rupiah (495 dollars) a kilogram and whole tusks for 25 to 30 million rupiah a kilogram," Syamsidar said.

"We want the authorities to take firm action against the poachers because the Sumatran elephants are an endangered species and must be protected."

Humans and wild animals are fighting for space as legal and illegal logging is rapidly reducing the tropical jungle.

Syamsidar said that there are between 2,400 and 2,800 Sumatran elephants in Indonesia, of which 200 to 250 are in Riau.


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