Heartbreaking News: Sumatran Elephant Found Poisoned with Left Tusk Severed in Riau

A male Sumatran elephant named Rahman, aged 46, was discovered dead in Tesso Nilo National Park (TNTN), Pelalawan Regency, Riau on 10th January 2024. The head of the national park, Heru Sutmantoro, reported that the mahout, Jumadi, initially observed Rahman’s death. 

When Jumadi called Rahman for fruit, there was no customary response. Upon closer inspection, it was found that Rahman was lying lifeless, and his left tusk had been severed, raising suspicions of poisoning for its tusks.

An examination by the veterinarian from the Center for Conservation and Natural Resources (BBKSDA) discovered that laxatives, milk, and liquid sugar were present in the Sumatran elephant body. This led to a strong suspicion that the cause of death was poisoning. 

Gennman, the Head of BBKSDA Riau, stated that the Riau KSDA Center would gather materials, information, and collaborate with law enforcement for subsequent legal actions regarding this incident.

This incident is part of a series of cases that unfolded in 2023. On 4th December 2023, seven individuals involved in elephant ivory theft were arrested in Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara. Iptu Susanto, representing the Sikka police, revealed that the ivory’s value could reach IDR 1.5 billion, and the perpetrators had planned to sell it to collectors.

Furthermore, Tesso Nilo National Park also witnessed the tragic death of a wild elephant calf entangled in a nylon rope. Despite efforts by the medical team, the elephant’s leg became infected, and its life could not be saved.

Get to Know About Tesso Nilo National Park in Riau

Tesso Nilo National Park, spanning 38,576 hectares, is a protected forest home to a diverse ecosystem. It boasts 360 types of flora, 107 bird species, 50 fish species, 23 mammals, 15 reptiles, 18 amphibians, and 3 primate species. The latest data indicates that the park is inhabited by 80 elephants, freely roaming every corner of the forest. To reach this national park, one must embark on a roughly 4.5-hour journey from Pangkalan Kerinci in Riau Province to arrive at Lubuk Kembang Bunga.

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