Rizal Harahap, Pekanbaru – An elephant was found brutally killed four kilometers away from the Kelayang district head office in Indragiri Hulu regency, Riau, on Wednesday, with the perpetrators still at large.
The Kelayang village police reported the body on Wednesday at 2:12 p.m. The elephant's face was severely mutilated but its tusks were still intact. The Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) team and Kelayang police managed to secure the crime scene by 4:50 p.m.
"The BKSDA's medical and investigation team and the Riau police's special crime investigation team departed from Pekanbaru, Riau at 5 p.m. on Wednesday," Riau BKSDA head Suharyono told reporters on Thursday. "They have arrived on the scene and are currently conducting an autopsy and investigation."
Suharyono suspected that the elephant had been considered a pest by locals as it had been separated from its pack, which lives in the Southeast Tesso elephant area of Riau's Tesso Nilo National Park.
"The elephant had been reported entering the residential and farm areas that are actually part of its home range," Suharyono said, adding that residents' palm and rubber plants had been damaged several times because of the elephant.
A BKSDA team had tried four times to drive the elephant back into the forest between May 2019 and April 2020, but it had continued to wander into residential areas.
"The BKSDA strongly condemns the killing. Together with the police, we will find the culprit and bring them to justice," Suharyono said. (mfp)