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(NEW YORK POST) — A heartbreaking image shows a mutilated elephant dead on the ground after poachers hacked its head in half to get its ivory tusks.
South African photojournalist Justin Sullivan, 28, used a drone to capture the devastation caused by poaching, with the trunk a few feet from the majestic mammal’s head which is believed to have been cut in half with a chainsaw.
Another image from the ground in Botswana shows the carnage in even more gruesome detail.
Sullivan’s aerial shot, “Disconnection,” came to light after it was nominated for the prestigious Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest.
“This specific elephant was slaughtered in an extremely inhumane manner,” Sullivan said, according to the UK’s Sun newspaper.
“The photo represents just how isolated and disconnected not only the elephant was in that moment, but how disconnected we are from the situation.”
Poaching in northern Botswana is increasing rapidly — with an almost 600-percent rise in the number of carcasses found between 2014 and 2018, according to the photo competition.
Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi also lifted the country’s ban on elephant hunting in May.
“People have obviously reacted with mixed feelings of anger and sadness, especially with the recent lift on the hunting ban in Botswana,” Sullivan said, according to The Sun.
“This photo has driven some constructive dialogue around how we can promote more sustainable elephant conversation and solve our current ecological crisis.”