The body of a critically endangered elephant killed by a hunting 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.
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 Asian elephant.
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.
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.
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.
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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