A cruel end for a gentle giant: Critically endangered Sumatran elephant dies in agony after its leg was caught in a trap in Indonesia

A cruel end for a gentle giant: Critically endangered Sumatran elephant dies in agony after its leg was caught in a trap in Indonesia



The body of a critically endangered elephant killed by a trap was found in Indonesia on Friday, local officials said.

Shocking images of the Sumatran elephant show the animal’s decomposing body lying on its side, with a cut on its leg from where it was caught by the trap.

Shocking images of the Sumatran elephant show the animal's decomposing body lying on its side, with marks on its leg from where it was gripped by the trap
Shocking images of the Sumatran elephant show the animal’s decomposing body lying on its side, with marks on its leg from where it was gripped by the trap
The male elephant, who is believed to have been around ten years old, died after his front leg was caught in the hunting trap. Pictured: A local points to the elephant's leg, showing the damage caused by the trap
The male elephant, who is believed to have been around ten years old, died after his front leg was caught in the hunting trap. Pictured: A local points to the elephant’s leg, showing the damage caused by the trap
Pictured: A man holds up the tusk of the deceased elephant to the camera. Sumatran elephants, native to Sumatra Island, are preeminently threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, as well as poaching. Officers believe the elephant had been lying dead for around four weeks before it was found
Pictured: A man holds up the tusk of the deceased elephant to the camera. Sumatran , native to Island, are preeminently threatened by , degradation and fragmentation, as well as . Officers believe the elephant had been lying dead for around four weeks before it was found

The male elephant, who is believed to have been around ten years old, died after his front leg was gripped by the hunting trap.

Judging by its injuries the condition of its body – which had started to rot – officers believe the elephant had been lying dead for around four weeks before it was found.

The creature was found in Alue Meuraksa Village in the Aceh Province on Friday.

Aceh is a semi-autonomous Indonesian province on the northwest tip of Sumatra Island, and is home to Sumatran elephants – one of three recognised subspecies of the .

Sumatran elephants, native to Sumatra Island, are threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, as well as poaching.

Locals were pictured investigating the scene of the elephant’s death and holding up its tusk, suggesting it had not been killed for its ivory.

It is more likely the traps were placed to keep elephants and other creatures away from crops.

Locals were pictured investigating the scene of the elephant's death and holding up its tusk, suggesting it had not been killed for its ivory. Pictured: The elephant's body, around which tape has been set up as someone works on the body
Locals were pictured investigating the scene of the elephant’s death and holding up its tusk, suggesting it had not been killed for its ivory. Pictured: The elephant’s body, around which tape has been set up as someone works on the body
It is more likely the traps were placed to keep elephants and other creatures away from crops
It is more likely the traps were placed to keep elephants and other creatures away from crops
In 2011, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) upgraded the conservation status of the Sumatran elephant from endangered to critically endangered in its 'Red List'
In 2011, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) upgraded the conservation status of the Sumatran elephant from endangered to critically endangered in its ‘Red List’

Between 2012 and 2015, 36 elephants were found dead in Aceh Province due to , electrocution and traps – the majority of which near plantations.

Conservationists that Sumatran elephants could become extinct in less than a decade if poaching is not stopped.

Over 69 per cent of potential elephant habitat has been lost within the last 25 years, with much of the remaining forest that makes up the elephant’s habitat now smaller than 97 square miles, which are too small to sustain elephant populations.

There is evidence in two Indonesian provinces – Riau and Lampung – that entire elephant populations have disappeared after their habitat was lost.

Sumatran elephants, native to Sumatra Island, are preeminently threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, as well as poaching
Sumatran elephants, native to Sumatra Island, are preeminently threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, as well as poaching
Over 69 per cent of potential elephant habitat has been lost within the last 25 years, with much of the remaining forest that makes up the elephant's habitat now too small to sustain elephant populations. Pictured: A farm in Sumatra, Indonesia on March 3, 2021
Over 69 per cent of potential elephant habitat has been lost within the last 25 years, with much of the remaining forest that makes up the elephant’s habitat now too small to sustain elephant populations. Pictured: A farm in Sumatra, Indonesia on March 3, 2021
Between 2012 and 2015, 36 elephants were found dead in Aceh Province due to poisoning, electrocution and traps - the majority of which near palm oil plantations. Pictured: An elephant calf is seen with her mom in Tangkahan Sumatran Elephant Special Animal Training Center
Between 2012 and 2015, 36 elephants were found dead in Aceh Province due to poisoning, electrocution and traps – the majority of which near palm oil plantations. Pictured: An elephant calf is seen with her mom in Tangkahan Sumatran Elephant Special Animal Training Center

Despite this, the driving forces behind the loss of habit remain unchecked, and the reduction of elephants’ habitat for illegal conversion of agriculture still continues.

Asian elephants are generally distinguishable from their African cousins by their small body size and smaller ears.

Sumatran elephants reach a shoulder height of between 6.6 and 10.5 feet and weight between 4,400 and 8,800 lbs, with males being larger than females.

Their life expectancy in captivity ranges from 60 to 75 years.

This article was first published by The Mail Online on 5 March 2021. Lead Image: The body of a critically endangered elephant killed by a hunting trap was found in Indonesia on Friday (pictured) local officials said.


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