A male Sumatran Elephant, Elephas maximus sumatranus, is believed to have been killed by poachers in Banda Alam District of Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. The body of the animal, aged about ten years, was found by conservation officials on Friday 16 November 2018. It appeared to have been dead for about a week, and was too badly decomposed to determine the cause of death by physical examination, but its tusks had been removed, which is typically a sign that an Elephant has been killed by poachers. Tissue samples have been taken from the body to analyse for traces of poison, a method that has been used by poachers to kill other Elephants in the area.
The Sumatran Elephants is a subspecies of Asian Elephant, Elephas maximus, which was once found across the island of Sumatra, but which is now restricted to 25 fragmented populations, most of which are located outside of conservation areas, a drop from 43 populations in 1985, with the total wild population estimated at 2400-2800 individuals. For this reason the Sumatran Elephant is considered to be Critically Endangered under the terms of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
The species has been badly impacted by the severe deforestation which has occurred on Sumatra in recent decades, destroying their natural habbitat and brining them into conflict with Humans, where they suffer for being both a threat to crops and a potential source of income due to the high value of their ivory on the illegal market.
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