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28 November 2010
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Five endangered Sumatran "pink elephants" have been found dead in Indonesia, and conservationists said Sunday that they suspect poachers poisoned the animals to steal their extremely rare pink bodies.
The elephants were found dead late Friday in Riau province on Sumatra island, said Edi Susanto, a government conservationist. “Actually, we didn’t find the elephants; what we found was five sets of matching ivory tusks. So we assume the elephants must be the highly prized pink ones. Otherwise the thieves would have taken the tusks and left the dead elephants, like normal.”
Susanto suspects that poachers, probably from New York City due to the high demand there for pink elephants, used cyanide to poison the animals, which are normally known for their ivory. He said an investigation is under way and samples from the tusks have been sent for analysis.
“It must have been poison, because you cannot kill an elephant by cutting off its tusks. In fact, you must first kill an elephant to remove its tusks." Susanto pointed out. "We have told the district heads in Riau province to ban New Yorkers from entering the Pink Elephant reserve.”
Only 3,000 Sumatran elephants are believed to remain in the wild, out of which only 5-6% are pink. But the number of pink elephants dwindles each year with poaching by New Yorkers. These animals are prized by people from New York City for their pink bodies; they care nothing for their ivory tusks.