Endangered elephant killed on Malaysian highway

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KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - An elephant died after being hit by a truck on a Malaysian highway, police said on Monday (July 29), the latest of the endangered creatures to be killed as their habitats are destroyed.

The South-east Asian country is home to many exotic animals, but they have increasingly found themselves forced out of their jungle homes as plantations and human settlements expand.

The elephant was killed late on Sunday on a busy road just north of a national park in the north-eastern state of Terengganu, senior police officer Mohamad Adli Mat Daud told AFP.

"A herd of wild elephants suddenly emerged from the forest under the cover of darkness," he said.

"A female wild elephant aged about five to six years was hit and killed by a lorry."

The driver of the truck carrying iron ore to a port escaped without injury, he said.

In 2017, two elephants were killed on the same highway in northern Malaysia within two months.

The pachyderms on peninsular Malaysia are Asian elephants, a species classified as endangered by protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

More than 2,000 wild animals were killed on roads in peninsular Malaysia between 2013 and 2018, according to wildlife officials.

Peninsular Malaysia forms part of mainland South-east Asia, while the country's eastern states lie on Borneo island.

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