At the end of December 2017, a 25 year old pregnant elephant and her unborn baby were found dead on a palm oil plantation in Sumatra. Authorities suspect that the animal had been poisoned by farmers, who blamed the elephant for eating their fertilizer.
She was the 11th elephant to die in the region that year. Saputo Aji Prabowo, head of the Aceh Conservation Center, said:
From the autopsy, we saw that its digestive organs turned black which the doctor said was a general indication of poisoning.
Palm Oil: wildlife’s curse
Palm oil production, for many reasons, often has a devastating effect on animals and plants. Over-deforestation has become a problem in the area due to the number of oil plantations, which are growing in number because it is so profitable.
By losing their natural habitat, orangutan and elephant populations have no choice but to move closer to humans to find food, which often results in conflict when they run into humans. Orangutans and elephants in Sumatra are considered critically endangered and if nothing is done, these species will join the list of the many animals that are already extinct.
Scott Blais, the director of the charity Global Sanctuary for Elephants, told website The Dodo:
We must start to see and to recognize each individual as a life with purpose, as someone who is integral to their society and a being who has the right to live within a world that is theirs.
It is vital and urgent that solutions are found if we are to stop critically endangered species like the elephant and the orangutan from vanishing forever.
H/t: The Dodo
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