Sumatran elephant found decapitated

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A critically endangered Sumatran elephant has been found decapitated in Indonesia's Aceh province, an official says.

The carcass of the male elephant was found on Sunday in the Jambo Reuhat village of East Aceh district, said Agus Arianto, the head of the provincial Nature Conservancy Agency.

A necropsy found the 12-year-old animal had been poisoned before it was decapitated and its tusks ripped off, he said.

"We suspect it was deliberately killed for its tusks," he said, adding that its severed trunk was found nearby.

"The case is being handled by the police and we hope that the perpetrators will be found soon," he added.

The Sumatran elephant, a subspecies of the Asian elephant, is categorised as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

There are estimated to be fewer than 3000 Sumatran elephants in the wild, with their number dwindling as a result of the conversion of their forest habitats into agricultural land and palm oil plantations, according to conservationists.

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