Beloved Elephant Yongki Killed By Poachers For His Ivory In Indonesia

A beloved endangered Sumatran elephant was found dead Friday with his tusks hacked off at the national park where he lived.

Yongki, a 35-year-old elephant who lived at the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, was involved in patrols to protect threatened habitats and calm wild elephants. He was found with a blue tongue, and officials believe he was poisoned by poachers for his ivory.

“We are mourning the lost of an elephant who has been helping us in handling conflicts and helping forest rangers patrol the forest, and he was a good elephant,” a local elephant keeper told AFP.

Investigators are working on finding Yongki’s killer or killers.

“Comprehensive investigation effort is required by the authorities to identify and seize the killer,” Anwar Purwoto, Director of Sumatra — Borneo WWF Indonesia, said, according to CNN. “It’s also important to take action to avoid another incident in the future.”

People took to Twitter to express their outrage over the slain elephant, using the hashtag #RIPYongki.

There are just 2,400 to 2,800 Sumatran elephants in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund. These animals are critically endangered, having lost half of their population in one generation. They are threatened by poaching and deforestation in their native Asian habitat.

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