An injured Sumatran elephant calf reportedly died in an industrial forest plantation in Bengkalis district, Riau, on Thursday (08/09), a day after it was found.
“The elephant was found in a forest plantation, not in the conservation area,” Fifian J. Yogaswara, head of the technical department at the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in Riau, told Antara in Pekanbaru.
He said BKSDA Riau field officers received information on Wednesday that the calf had been found in the Arara Abadi industrial plantation.
According to Fifian, the calf was still alive at the time, but with half its body submerged in a water reservoir.
“We were trying to help the animal, but because we asked for assistance from [local nongovernmental organization] Vesswick in Medan [North Sumatra] and backup from the Pekanbaru office, help only arrived at around 8.00 a.m. on Thursday,” Fifian said. “But we were too late.”
He said he strongly suspects that the elephant was part of a herd that lives in the Balai Raja wildlife conservation area, which borders the Arara Abadi concession.
Fifian further suspects that the calf became separated from its mother due to illness and that it died as a result of multiple stab wounds.
BKSDA Riau will be conducting an autopsy to confirm the cause of death.
Meanwhile, Arara Abadi spokesperson Nurul Huda said the elephant calf was spotted with injuries and infected wounds on its legs.
“The injured calf was trying to find water, which lead it to the site’s water reservoir,” she said.
Although a teams from Arara Abadi and BKSDA Riau managed to remove the elephant from the reservoir, it succumbed due to its poor health condition.