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Poachers blamed in second Sumatran elephant death this year

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AUTHORITIES in Indonesia have blamed poachers for the death of an elephant found with one of its tusks hacked off, in one of the world’s most biodiverse and threatened habitats.

The 27-year-old male Sumatran elephant, named Bunta, had since 2016 been regularly trained and employed by forest rangers in Aceh province as part of a unit to ward off wild elephants encroaching on farms and villages.

His body was found June 9 by forest rangers inside the Leuser Ecosystem, one of Indonesia’s last large tracts of intact rainforest, which is home to four of the most iconic and critically endangered species on Earth: the Sumatran elephant, tiger, rhino and orangutan.

SEE ALSO: NGOs appeal to Unesco to save Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem

Citing damage to the elephant’s digestive tract, and traces from fruit found near the carcass, officials from the Aceh conservation agency, or BKSDA, say it was likely that Bunta was poisoned — a common tactic used by poachers and farmers in the region.

“After the elephant died, one of its tusks was taken by slicing open its........

© Asian Correspondent