Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Beloved Elephant Yongki Killed by Ivory Poachers, Sparks Outrage

Beloved Elephant Yongki Killed by Ivory Poachers, Sparks Outrage

The brutal killing of a beloved elephant in Indonesia has sparked online anger, similar to the global outrage from the killing of Zimbabwe's Cecil the lion.

According to AFP, it's suspected that Yongki, a 35-year-old Sumatran elephant who helped patrol Indonesian jungles, died of poisoning at the hands of poachers. His maimed and bloodied body was found nearby a camp at the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park where he had lived.

He was found Friday around 7:30 p.m with his three-foot long tusks hacked off, "leaving just bloody stumps," with his legs still bearing the chains placed onto him by his keepers to ensure he stayed in the camp, the news agency reported.

"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," Nazaruddin (who goes by one name), the head of the Indonesian Mahout Forum, told AFP.

Yongki's keepers were "very shaken," Nazaruddin added.

A report from The Washington Post explains why Yongki will be sorely missed:

Along with his mahouts—a term used across south and southeast Asia for elephant riders—the lumbering creature was a member of a conservation response unit, or CRU, that sought to protect the natural habitat.

Every day, Yongki and his human partners would patrol the dense jungles of southern Sumatra. With a mahout on his back, he would trudge along paths too treacherous for any mechanized vehicle, on the lookout for ivory poachers, illegal loggers or farmers encroaching on protected parkland.

Yongki also had another duty: liaising between species.

Sumatran park rangers use tame elephants like Yongki to drive wild elephants back into the jungle, avoiding clashes between elephants and farmers who have been known to take revenge upon the animals.

Yongki's grisly murder highlights the gruesome nature of the (often illegal) ivory trade, in which mostly elephants are targeted for their tucks by poachers. About 100 elephants are killed each day in the trade, and the act could push some species to the brink of extinction in a handful of years.

There are currently 2,400-2,800 Sumatran elephants left on the planet. According to the World Wildlife Fund, these animals went from “endangered” to “critically endangered” in 2012 after half of its population was lost in a single generation mostly due habitat loss and human-elephant conflict.

Word is getting out after photos and news of Yongki's murder surfaced online. There is currently an online petition urging Indonesia's Attorney-General H.M. Prasetyo to take action and prosecute the culprits responsible for the elephant's killing. The hashtag #RIPYongki is also trending on social media worldwide.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

More People Have Died This Year from Selfies Than Sharks

#BearSelfies Force Colorado Park to Close

Shocking Polar Bear Photos Show Stark Reality of Climate Change

Air France airplanes parked at the Charles de Gaulle/Roissy airport on March 24, 2020. SAMSON / AFP via Getty Images

France moved one step closer this weekend to banning short-haul flights in an attempt to fight the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A woman looks at a dead gray whale on the beach in the SF Bay area on May 23, 2019; a new spate of gray whales have been turning up dead near San Francisco. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Four gray whales have washed up dead near San Francisco within nine days, and at least one cause of death has been attributed to a ship strike.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A small tourist town has borne the brunt of a cyclone which swept across the West Australian coast. ABC News (Australia) / YouTube

Tropical Cyclone Seroja slammed into the Western Australian town of Kalbarri Sunday as a Category 3 storm before grinding a more-than 600-mile path across the country's Southwest.

Read More Show Less
A general view shows the remains of a dam along a river in Tapovan, India, on February 10, 2021, following a flash flood caused by a glacier break on February 7. Sajjad Hussain / AFP / Getty Images

By Rishika Pardikar

Search operations are still underway to find those declared missing following the Uttarakhand disaster on 7 February 2021.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous youth, organizers with the Dakota Access and Line 3 pipeline fights and climate activists march to the White House to protest against pipeline projects on April 1, 2021. Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Indigenous leaders and climate campaigners on Friday blasted President Joe Biden's refusal to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline during a court-ordered environmental review, which critics framed as a betrayal of his campaign promises to improve tribal relations and transition the country to clean energy.

Read More Show Less