Thieves in Cambodia poisoned a 62-year-old domesticated elephant and sawed off its tusks to sell in the black market, officials said Tuesday.
The male elephant, which was chained to a tree by its owner near his home in Rattanakiri province, about 325 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of the capital Phnom Penh, was found dead Saturday, said district police chief Lee Sam Ol.
Police found several empty packs of poison commonly used to kill rats near the dead elephant. They believe the thieves had doused jack fruit, a tropical fruit eaten by elephants, with the poison, Lee Sam Ol said.
The elephant's tusks, measuring about 0.8 meters (0.8 yards) each, had been removed, he said.
Hor Ang, the province's deputy police chief, said the tusks could fetch up to US$3,000 (EUR2,250) each in the illegal ivory trade.
Elephants are the main means of transport for hilltribes people in northeastern Cambodia, reports AP.
Conservationists have said that the end of years of armed conflict in Cambodia has allowed the elephant population and other wildlife to make a comeback in Cambodian jungles.
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