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Sumatran Elephant Found Poisoned In Indonesia

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Villagers walk past a dead Sumatran elephant allegedly poisoned by workers at a palm oil plantation in Krueng Ayon, Aceh province, Indonesia, Tuesday, May 1, 2012. The quickly shrinking habitats of Sumatran elephants has led to clashes with humans, often because the starving animals stray into human settlements and destroy crops in their search for food. Only 3,000 Sumatran elephants are believed to remain in the wild. (AP Photo/Heri Juanda) | AP

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — A ranger says an endangered Sumatran elephant has died in a palm oil plantation in western Indonesia, apparently after being poisoned by villagers trying to protect their crops.

Fewer than 3,000 of the animals are left in the wild and environmentalists warn they could be extinct within three decades unless steps are taken to protect them.

Mukhtar, a ranger with Fauna-Flora International, says the 18-year-old elephant was not yet dead when she was found Monday in Aceh province.

Rangers unsuccessfully tried to save her by giving her medicine.

Mukhtar said it is not uncommon for elephants to be poisoned. As forests disappear, elephants stray into inhabited areas in search of food. Villagers trying to protect their property sometimes leave fruits laced with cyanide.

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