Zimbabwe

3 more elephants found in Zim with tusks 'chopped out'

2015-09-22 12:16
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Harare - The carcasses of three more elephants, with their tusks "brutally chopped out", have been found by rangers in northern Zimbabwe.

Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit, known by its acronym BHAPU, confirmed the slaying, saying it occurred "approximately one week ago".

The unit operates in the wildlife area around the Bumi Hills resort, on the southern shores of Lake Kariba.

A recent survey confirmed that elephant numbers south of Lake Kariba had dropped by 75% in the past 14 years through poaching.

No arrests have been reported over the latest elephant killings, but investigations are ongoing, BHAPU said in an update posted to Facebook late on Monday.

It said the elephants tusks had been "brutally chopped out" and that they were shot "approximately one week ago".

Lake Kariba, a man-made lake, is a tourist paradise for well-heeled locals and foreigners.

But, behind the idyllic scenes of elephants frolicking in the shallows, there is a tale of horror.

Seventy-three elephant carcasses have been found in the past eight years in the Bumi Hills area alone, which represents only a tiny fraction of the district surrounding Kariba and the Zambezi Valley.

News of the grim discovery comes a day after the state Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority reported the arrest and sentencing of a 41-year-old man from Binga, at the western end of Lake Kariba.

Million Siabutu was sentenced to 16-and-a-half years in jail, with labour, after he was convicted for the illegal hunt of an elephant and illegal possession of ivory.

He was also convicted on a firearm offence.

He was arrested last week. It is hoped that the speed and severity of the sentence will be a deterrent to other would-be poachers in Zimbabwe.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  conservation  |  animals

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