A baby elephant loses its trunk

By on November 15, 2021 0

Editor’s Note: Some may find the images in this story disturbing.

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) – A baby elephant on the Indonesian island of Sumatra had half his trunk amputated after being caught in what authorities said on Monday was a trap set by poachers who attack endangered species.

The 1-year-old female is among the last of the island’s 700 wild Sumatran elephants. She was found very weak with a snare still embedded in her almost severed trunk on Sunday in Alue Meuraksa, a wooded village in Aceh Jaya district, said Agus Arianto, head of the Aceh province conservation agency.

“This was obviously aimed at poaching endangered animals for money,” Arianto said in a statement. “We will cooperate with law enforcement in an investigation.”

Arianto said the elephant calf was apparently abandoned by the herd due to deteriorating condition after being caught in the trap, allegedly set by a poacher.

He said wildlife officials had to amputate half of the trunk on Monday as part of a rescue operation.

Environmentalists say the coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in poaching in Sumatra as villagers turn to hunting for economic reasons.

In July, an elephant was found without its head in a palm grove in eastern Aceh. Police arrested a suspected poacher and four people accused of purchasing ivory from the dead animal. Their trials are still ongoing since last month. They face up to five years in prison and a fine of 100 million rupees ($ 7,000) if found guilty.

The number of Sumatran elephants that have died from trapping and poisoning has reached 25 over the past nine years in East Aceh district alone, Arianto said.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, has elevated the status of the Sumatran elephant from Endangered to Critically Endangered in its 2012 Red List, mainly due to a significant drop in population, as indicated by the loss of over 69% of its potential habitat over the past 25 years – the equivalent of one generation.

Data from the Indonesian Ministry of Forests and Environment showed that the Sumatran elephant population fell from 1,300 in 2014 to 693, down nearly 50% in the past seven years.

Sumatran elephants are a subspecies of the Asian elephant, one of the two large mammal species in the world.

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