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Two Sumatran elephants shot dead in Indonesian park

With an estimated less than 3,000 individuals left in the wild, any unnatural death of a Sumatran elephant is cause for conservationists to worry. But two of them shot dead is may be described as devastating.

As reported by the Associated Press, two 20-year-old female Sumatran elephants were found on March 24th dead in the forests of Kerinci National Park due to gunshots in the head. The females had been partners with local rangers, who rode them to patrol the park to keep out illegal loggers.

The Sumatran elephant is a subspecies of these Asian elephants in Thailand. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

“It is a big blow to our efforts to protect these endangered animals,” Andi Basrul, provisional conservation chief, told AP. He also said that he believed the crime was carried out by professional poachers. An investigation is planned by local police.

Sumatran elephants, a subspecies of the Asian elephant, are threatened largely by habitat loss due to deforestation for logs or oil palm plantations. Loss of habitat has brought elephants increasingly in contact with locals.

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