Endangered elephant slaughtered by poachers INSIDE wildlife sanctuary (PHOTOS)

Endangered elephant slaughtered by poachers INSIDE wildlife sanctuary (PHOTOS)
An endangered Asian elephant has been found dead, with its tusks and tail removed, after being brutally butchered by audacious poachers inside a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia.

The body of the male elephant was found in the sanctuary on Sunday, according to Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra. It had been killed about 10 days ago, Pheaktra said, and suffered a gunshot wound under its right eye. A search is underway for the poachers responsible for the heinous animal attack.

There are only about 400 wild elephants left in Cambodia, and 50 held in captivity, due to poaching and deforestation. Last year a baby elephant was found dead inside the same sanctuary after it became caught up in a trap set by poachers.

Authorities in Southeast Asia are mired in an ongoing battle against poachers who hunt Asian elephants for their tusks and tail hair to sell on the multi-billion dollar black market in China and Vietnam.

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As neighboring Thailand cracks down on traffickers, Cambodia has emerged as the new hub for moving the goods thanks to high levels of corruption. Last year, Cambodian authorities made their largest ever bust of more than 1,000 elephant tusks in a storage container shipped from Mozambique.

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