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Southeast Asia, explained

Indonesia: the case of the poisoned elephant

Palm oil plantations continue to drive rare species' deaths
Dead elephant indonesia 2012 05 03Enlarge
The dead body of a rare Sumatran elephant is buried along a road of a palm oil plantation in Indonesia's Aceh province after it was found dead on the road on April 30, 2012. Conflicts between humans and animals are increasing as people encroach on wildlife habitats in Indonesia, an archipelago with some of the world's largest remaining tropical forests. (CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)

What does this orangutan hit squad, this rash of pachyderm poisonings and the dead elephant seen in this photo have in common?

Palm oil plantations.

More than 9 million acres of Indonesia's forests have been destroyed to produce palm oil, according to a Yale University report, and all that land clearing has rid endangered tigers, primates and elephants of their habitat.

When these creatures destroy crops and wander into villages, they're often exterminated.

This 18-year-old female elephant appears to be the latest casualty.

According to Indonesia's Antara News, it was found dying by the roadside -- apparently poisoned -- by a palm oil plantation.

It gets sadder: the dead elephant's saddened child, the Jakarta Post reports, was found trying to wake up its mother.

According to AFP, the WWF environmental group has pushed Indonesia's government for a full investigation.

http://www.globalpost.com/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/dead-elephant-indonesia

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