2 rare elephants found dead in Indonesian jungle

May 8, 2009
In this photo taken on May 7, 2009, conservationists and officials inspect the carcass of an elephant believed to have been poisoned near Pekanbaru, Riau province, Sumatra island. Two Sumatran elephants believed to have been poisoned by poachers were found dead in the jungle of northwest Indonesia with their tusks removed, a conservationist said.(AP Photo)

(AP) -- Two rare Sumatran elephants believed to have been poisoned with cyanide-laced pineapples were found dead in the jungles of northwestern Indonesia with their tusks removed, a conservationist said.

The giant males aged 16 and 23 were discovered Thursday near Pekanbaru, Sumatra, about 560 miles (900 kilometers) from the capital, Jakarta, said Muslino, a spokesman for the Conservation and Natural Resources Agency. Like many Indonesians, he uses just one name.

Four pineapples spiked with cyanide were scattered on the ground near the carcasses and two sets of bloodied tusks had been hidden in the underbrush, said Muslino.

Police were searching for poachers believed responsible, he said.

Indonesia's endangered elephants, tigers, and orangutans are increasingly threatened by shrinking jungle habitat, which is cut and burned to make way for plantations or sold as lumber.

Just 3,000 Sumatran are believed to still be living in their natural surroundings.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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not rated yet May 08, 2009
Welcome, society, to one of the most unpleasant of choices. A starving man says "What's more important, an elephant on the verge of exctinction, or the life of my family?"

And the answer is: the elephant.

How many of us could make the call? Hard times are coming.

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