04/25/2015, 00.00
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After another Sumatran elephant is found dead in Aceh, experts issue warnings about the endangered species

by Mathias Hariyadi
The pachyderm, a 15-year-old bull, had a deep wound to the leg. Unable to move, it was left behind and died from an infection when its pack moved on. Environmentalists warn that if they are not protected, "Sumatran elephants will become extinct."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – A few days ago, an extremely rare Sumatran elephant died from the wounds he sustained to a leg, in all likelihood, caused by a poacher.

A group of people discovered the animal’s carcass in Seumanah Jaya, in Ranto Peureulak sub-district (East Aceh Regency).

The finding has refocused attention on the fact that Indonesia holds the record for human-pachyderms clashed.

Local sources said that a group of five elephants was sighted in early April in the area, but in recent days, they lost track of them, except for a large male, possibly 15-year-old bull, which was serious injured to a leg.

The local Conservation Chief Genman Hasibuan said the dead elephant had been left behind by its group since he could no longer walk.

"The elephant,” he explained, “died from a serious infection after his leg was caught in a trap that caused deep wounds."

Conservationists rescued another group of elephants on 10 and 20 April, who were later moved to a protected reserve in Saree Aceh Besar, about 350 km from where they had been found.

On 13 April, another elephant was found dead, killed, in Kareung Hampa, Lam Balek sub-district, in West Aceh Regency, 150 km from the nearest palm plantation, one of the main reasons for conflict with humans.

The animal’s tusks had been cut off and the state of the carcass was described as "tragic".

According to reports from the Indonesian chapter of the WWF, at least 36 Sumatran elephant have been killed since 2012, either by poisoning, trapping or electrocuted by electrically wired fences around plantations.

If no measures are taken, "Within the next 10 years, Sumatran elephants will extinct,” a WWF official said.

Based on figures provided by WWF Indonesia, India has around 8,000 individual wild elephants, followed by Malaysia (3,885), and Myanmar (2,619). Indonesia comes in fourth with 2,000 animals.

Unlike the other nations, in Indonesia elephants represent a greater challenge to the authorities because of the country’s insular nature, which offers less room for wild animals.

Although Indonesia does not have the most elephants, it has the most human-animal incidents: 1.2 per cent, followed by Thailand at 0.4 per cent.

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