A newborn elephant on Indonesia’s Sumatra island had half of her trunk severed after being caught in a trap set by poachers who prey on the endangered animal, authorities said Monday.
The one-year-old female is one of only 700 wild Sumatran elephants left on the island. On Sunday, she was discovered in Blue Meuraksa, a forested village in the Aceh Jaya district, very frail and with a snare still embedded in her almost-severed trunk, according to Agus Arianto, the head of Aceh province’s conservation agency.
“The purpose was to profit from hunting endangered species,” Arianto said in a statement. In the course of an inquiry, we will collaborate with law enforcement officials. According to Arianto, the elephant calf was likely abandoned by the herd owing to her poor condition after being ensnared in a snare trap placed by a poacher.
He said that wildlife officials had to amputate half of the trunk to save the animal’s life on Monday.
The coronavirus pandemic, according to conservationists, has led to an increase in poaching in Sumatra, as villagers turn to hunt as a source of money.
In East Aceh, a headless elephant was discovered in a palm plantation in July.
A suspected poacher, as well as four persons accused of buying ivory from the slain animal, were captured.
Their trials have been underway since last month. If proven guilty, they could face up to five years in prison and a fine of 100 million rupiahs ($7,000).
In the last nine years, 25 Sumatran elephants have died as a result of being snared and poisoned in the East Aceh area alone, according to Arianto.
Due to a dramatic reduction in the population, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) upgraded the status of the Sumatran elephant from endangered to critically endangered in its 2012 Red List population, as evidenced by the loss of over 69 percent of the elephant’s potential habitat in the last 25 years—the equivalent of one generation.
The Sumatran elephant population has plummeted by roughly half in the previous seven years, from 1,300 in 2014 to 693, according to data from Indonesia’s forestry and environment ministry.
Sumatran elephants are a subspecies of Asian elephants, which are one of only two species on the planet.