Sumatran Elephants Could Be Extinct In 30 Years

Published January 24, 2012 5:27AM (EST)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Environmentalists say the Sumatran elephant could be extinct in the wild within the next three decades unless steps are taken to slow the breakneck pace of deforestation.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature recently listed the animals as "critically endangered," after their numbers dropped to between 2,400 and 2,800 from an estimated 5,000 in 1985.

The decline is largely because of destruction of their habitat, with forests all across the Indonesian island of Sumatra clear-cut for timber, palm oil or agricultural plantations.

Carlos Drews of the environmental group WWF says if urgent action is not taken to reverse this trend, "these magnificent animals are likely to go extinct" in less than 30 years.

By Salon Staff

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