Baby elephant dies after being rescued, lost half of its trunk in trap set by poachers

A baby elephant whose trunk was partially amputated by rescuers after being caught in a trap in Indonesia died Tuesday despite efforts to treat and rehabilitate it, officials said. Agus Arianto, the head of the Aceh province conservation agency, said “we’ve done our best, but that can’t be helped either,” the Associated Press reported.

“Its trunk was starting to rot and no longer functioning,” Arianto said.

The one-year-old elephant, among the dwindling population of around 700 wild Sumatran elephants on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, was found on Sunday in Alue Meuraksa, a village in Aceh Jaya district, officials said. conservation. She was very weak and still had a trap stuck in her almost severed trunk.

The amputation of half of his trunk was a life-saving measure attempt by wildlife officials at an elephant training center near Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, the AP reported. A team of vets are working on the cause of death designation via an autopsy, Arianto told reporters.

“Her death was shocking (…) because she looked fine after being amputated and moving actively,” said Rika Marwati, a veterinarian at the training center. “She suddenly fell ill from stress and an infection on Monday evening and in the morning she was pronounced dead.”

The elephant appears to have been abandoned by its herd due to its worsening condition after being caught in what authorities say was a poacher’s trap. Elephants are primarily targeted by poachers for their ivory tusks, a type of elongated tooth essential for animal survival, according to the International Anti-Poaching Foundation. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that around 20,000 elephants are illegally killed for their tusks each year.

For more Associated Press reporting, see below.

A baby Sumatran elephant died Tuesday after losing half of its trunk in a trap set by poachers preying on the endangered species, officials said, despite efforts to amputate it and heal his wounds. The elephant calf which lost half of its trunk was treated at an elephant conservation center in Saree, Aceh Besar, Indonesia on November 15, 2021.
Munandar / AP Photo

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

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.

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.

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 the population, as indicated by the loss of more than 69 percent 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, a decline of nearly 50 percent in the past seven years.

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

Baby elephant treated
A baby elephant whose trunk was partially amputated by rescuers after being caught in a trap in Indonesia died Tuesday despite efforts to rehabilitate it, officials said. The Sumatran baby elephant was cared for at an elephant conservation center in Saree, Aceh Besar, Indonesia on November 15, 2021.
Munandar / AP Photo


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