A pregnant elephant has been found dead in a palm oil plantation on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, Aceh conservation center head Sapto Aji Prabowo told AFP Wednesday, adding that the authorities thought that the animal was deliberately poisoned.
The elephant's carcass was found near Seuneubok Bayu village in the province of Aceh last week after the locals reported the incident to the authorities, the official said, adding that several days before the corpse was discovered, locals complained that an elephant ate their fertilizer.
"The 25-year-old elephant had been dead for around 10 days when we got there," Prabowo said.
"From the autopsy, we saw that its digestive organs turned black, which the doctor said was a general indication of poisoning," the official noted, adding that the elephant was carrying a 13-month old fetus and was six months away from giving birth.
Deforestation in the region has made the Sumatran elephant an endangered and protected species. However, this year at least 11 elephants have been found dead, most of them feared to be killed by humans.
Earlier this year, the Aceh authorities found a dead elephant without tusks, along with its abandoned 11-month-old calf.