Animal rights group PETA offered a $1,000 reward Tuesday for information on the killing of three critically-endangered Sumatran elephants near palm oil plantations in Indonesia.
The carcasses of three female elephants, including a year-old calf, were found rotting at the weekend in the jungle on Sumatra island outside the Tesso Nilo National Park, which is surrounded by palm oil plantations. Park chief Kupin Simbolon said Monday the elephants had likely been poisoned in revenge after plantation workers’ huts were destroyed in a recent stampede.
At least 17 elephants have died this year at the park and surrounding districts, mostly from suspected poisoning, Simbolon said, adding that his team was working with police to hunt down the perpetrators in the latest case. Sumatran elephants have been classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature since January 2011, as the population has declined by at least 80 percent over the past 75 years. The category is one step short of “extinct in the wild” and two below “extinct.”
There has been a spate of elephant and orangutan killings this year around forests converted to palm oil plantations in Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of the edible oil.
Photo by WWF