1-year-old Sumatran elephant dies after losing half of her trunk to poacher’s trap

The elephant calf following her tusk amputation. Photo: BKSDA Aceh
The elephant calf following her tusk amputation. Photo: BKSDA Aceh

The calf of a Sumatran elephant sadly died in Aceh yesterday, just days after she was rescued from a poacher’s trap with part of her trunk almost completely severed.

The province’s Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) rescued the 1-year-old female near Alue Meuraksa village on Sunday. Officials believe the baby elephant had been ensnared in the trap for days.

BKSDA officials then brought her to an elephant training center in Saree, Aceh Besar district where half of her trunk was amputated in an emergency medical procedure.

Sadly, the calf died on Tuesday morning after initially showing signs of healing following her amputation and treatment on Monday.

“[When she was rescued] the trunk was rotting, almost severed, so we took her to the center for a medical intervention. In these two days her condition was improving, but the infection spread because she had been trapped for a long time,” BKSDA Aceh head Agus Ariyanto said yesterday.

Agus said an autopsy is underway to determine the calf’s causes of death.

In July, BKSDA found a decapitated adult Sumatran elephant in Aceh, with authorities suspecting that the endangered animal was killed for its tusks after finding traces of poison in its digestive system. 

Around 700 Sumatran elephants remain in the wild on the island, with their population decreasing by 50 percent in the last seven years, Indonesian government data shows.
Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus), a subspecies of Asian elephants, are a critically endangered species. They are protected under Indonesia’s laws on conservation, but continue to face serious threats such as illegal logging, human-wildlife conflict and illegal hunting — in which poachers mostly kill the animal for their tusks.

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