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Rare Sumatran elephants found dead in Indonesia, with WWF accusing poachers

Two critically-endangered Sumatran elephants have been found dead in Indonesia's Tesso Nilo national park, with environmentalists accusing poachers of poisoning them.
Zimbabwe baby elephantsEnlarge
An African elephant and her baby in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. (Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

Two critically-endangered Sumatran elephants have been found dead in Indonesia's Tesso Nilo national park, with environmentalists accusing poachers of poisoning them.

Three elephants have now been found dead in Tesso Nilo, on Sumatra island, in the past month.

The Riau chapter of the World Wildlife Fund said the carcasses of a male, aged around 5, and a female were found about a kilometer apart.

The Jakarta Globe quoted WWF spokeswoman Syamsidar, who goes by one name, as saying:

“We believe that the elephants were poisoned as the carcasses were quite close to each other.”

A Sumatran elephant was discovered dead in the park early last month, also from suspected poisoning, she added.

It was a week of bittersweet news regarding Indonesian wildlife.

A Sumatran elephant named Mayang gave birth to a healthy baby under the breeding program at Bali's Safari and Marine Park, the Jakarta Post reported.

The elephant population at the park, in Gianyar, is now 30, including the newborn.

However, elsewhere conservationists appear to be fighting a losing battle against not only poachers, but unfettered expansion of palm oil and paper plantations and the mining industry.

Nearly 70 percent of the elephant’s forest habitat has been destroyer over 25 years, according to the WWF.

Meanwhile, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said that fewer than 3,000 Sumatran elephants remained in the wild.

And in January, 14 Borneo pygmy elephants were found dead of suspected poisoning in the Malaysian state of Sabah.

Pictures of an orphaned calf named Joe trying to rouse his dead mother made headlines around the world.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/sumatran-tiger-elephants-dead-indonesia-wwf-poison-bali-wildlife