Indonesia has arrested five people for the beheading of a critically endangered Sumatran elephant, authorities said Tuesday. The male elephant was found at the beginning of July without his head and tusks.
The rotting body of the estimated 12-year-old elephant was discovered at a palm oil plantation in Sumatra’s Aceh region. He had been poisoned, an autopsy revealed.
After a month-long investigation, the five suspected poachers were arrested on Monday. Aceh police spokesperson Winardy said one of the suspects killed and then decapitated the elephant.
The other suspect tried to sell pieces of the elephant’s tusks. The police are still looking for a sixth suspect. The suspects could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted underIndonesia’s conservation law, Winardy said.
In recent years, there have been several elephant poisoning cases. The animals are being killed because of the increasing elephant-human conflicts or for their tusks.
Deforestation has reduced the elephants’ natural habitat and brought them into closer contact with humans, leading to unwanted situations.
The region has only 500 Sumatran elephants left in the wild, according to Aceh’s conservation agency.
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