"We urge law agencies and the authorities concerned to immediately investigate the death of a female elephant in Aceh Jaya and find the perpetrators," said WWF Indonesia Programme Leader Dede Suhendra here on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old elephant was found dead in an oil palm plantation in Krueng Ayon village, Sampoiniet sub-district, Aceh Jaya, and was believed to have been poisoned.
Dede emphasized the need to conduct an investigation to determine whether the protected animal had really been poisoned or not.
"If the cause of the death is really poisoning, law enforcers must find the perpetrator and punish him so that the incident will not happen again in the future," he stressed.
He believed the elephant`s death is the consequence of a protracted conflict between humans and animals in the region.
The habitat of wild animals - especially protected ones such as elephants, tigers and orangutans - is continuously under depletion due to massive deforestation, which causes the animals to enter villages and damage villagers` crops and cattle.
Dede remarked that the conflict must be ended immediately, so that the animals can return to their habitat.
For this, all parties including the government must together determine how to protect the animals and stop them from entering villages in the future, he added.
Meanwhile, the Sampoiniet Conservation Response Unit (CRU) chief ranger Muchtar expressed his belief that the elephant had died three days ago, adding that the animal`s body was found on the road between SP Empat and SP Lima, which is a resettlement area.
The elephant has a male offspring around 1.5 years old, who is still roaming around in the area where his mother died, the ranger remarked.
The chief of the animal protection section of the Aceh Jaya Forestry and Plantation Service, Armidi, said in Calang on Wednesday that there have been numerous cases of interference by wild elephants in the last seven years. He added that the service, along with the Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) and the CRU of Fauna-Flora International (FFI), are continuing their efforts to overcome the conflict between animals and villagers.
According to Armidi, this has been the first elephant death case in Aceh Jaya. He said that the SP 4 and SP 5 areas used to be elephant habitat, although most of this land has been converted into a resettlement area.
Meanwhile, Muchtar reported that the dead elephant was buried on Tuesday.