Endangered Young Elephants Likely Poisoned By Palm Oil Farmers

After officials found the bodies of seven critically endangered Sumatran elephants on the outskirts, many have suggested that poisoning is to blame. Authorities suspect that the animals, one female, five young males, and one male calf were likely poisoned by plantation owners or workers, who blame them for disturbing illegal palm oil plantations inside the park.

There is an indication that they were poisoned," said Muhammad Zanir, head of the local wildlife agency. "Some people may consider the elephants a threat to their palm oil plantations and poison them."

And sadly, this isn't the first case of elephant poisoning in the area, Mongabay reports.

"Killing of elephants in and around [Tesso Nilo National Park] has dramatically increased since 2012: a total of 33 elephants have been found dead, many more may have remained undetected," reads a statement from Eyes on the Forest, a local NGO. "If forest loss and elephant killings do not slow down, Tesso Nilo's elephant population might go extinct in less than 10 years."

Conservationists are asking consumers to stop buying fruit produced illegally inside the park, especially from the companies Wilmar Group and Kencana Agri of Indonesia, which have been targeted by the World Wildlife Fund for their destructive agricultural practices. There are lots of petitions aimed at companies that use unsustainable palm oil in their products you can sign on Change.org.