Elephant Murder Mystery Highlights Threat Faced by Animals

Banda Aceh, TAG. A 15-year-old Sumatran elephant was poisoned last month for its tusks, environmental activists and officials confirmed on Sunday.

Kamal Faisal, chairman of environmental watchdog Tamiang Peduli, said dozens of people were involved in the death of the elephant on April 27 near a palm oil plantation owned by PT MPLI in Tamiang district. 

He said the case only became public when a forest ranger, M Syahrizal, noticed the elephant missing from its group. 

“There were three elephants that lived in the area,” Faisal said. “Two adults and one baby elephant.” 

Faisal said Syahrizal drove the elephants back to their habitat whenever they strayed too close to villages in the area. He said that it was only several days after the killing that the ranger realized one of the adult elephants was missing from the group. 

Faisal said a farmer claimed he had witnessed the killing when he was working in his field. 

“The farmer saw dozens of people cutting up the dead elephant’s tusks and meat,” he said. 

Faisal said a small piece of tusk had been secured in his office, but that the farmer was too afraid too speak publicly because he had been threatened by the poachers. 

He said it was possible that security officers at plantation company MPLI were involved, noting that no one at the company had yet to issue a statement on the killing. 

“The hunters could be people who have been illegally operating in the forests around Tamiang, and they could be working with the company,” he said, adding that he had reported the case to Aceh’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency. 

Ridwan, an official at the agency, said it would send a team to the area today. “We are deeply concerned by the case,” he said, adding that the agency would conduct a thorough investigation. 

He said there had been cases in several districts in Aceh of elephants destroying homes and fields, but that some people were taking advantage of conflicts between humans and the animals.
Elephant Murder Mystery Highlights Threat Faced by Animals Elephant Murder Mystery Highlights Threat Faced by Animals Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on May 09, 2010 Rating: 5

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