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Endangered Elephant Killed On Land Where He Was Supposed To Be Safe

Yongki, a Sumatran elephant and "park ranger," has been hunted, poisoned and killed for his valuable tusks.

There are fewer than 2,000 of his kind remaining in the world, and now his death marks yet another life taken at the hands of poachers.

At 7:30 pm on Friday, park rangers at Bukit Barisan National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia, discovered his lifeless and mutilated body, the Washington Post reports. Still wearing the chains that park rangers used to keep him within the supposedly safe parameters of the park, he was found with two bloody lesions where his tusks once were.

In addition to the official title of "park ranger" at Bukit, Yongki was also a hero among wild elephants: Human park rangers used him and other trained elephants to herd wild elephants so they'd remain inside the jungle, away from human threats.

Shutterstock

His death comes just two months after the tragic death of Cecil the lion, another famous and beloved wild animal whose death enraged the world.

Cecil with his pride in 2012. Shutterstock

Although Yongki's notoriety among park rangers brings added emotion to this tragedy, it is an all-too-familiar scene in Indonesia, where 45 elephants were poached in 2014 alone. Despite international laws against the ivory trade, the illegal ivory market thrives within Indonesia - only 13 traders of Sumatran ivory have been arrested over the past seven years.

Despite early successes, the 1989 international ban on the ivory trade has failed to protect wild elephants in recent years. Since the revival of large-scale poaching in 2007, the global population of all species of elephants has dropped significantly, and more than 100,000 African elephants have been killed in just three years.

Read the Washington Post's full article on Yongki's death here.