4 elephants suspected poisoned with cyanide in Zimbabwe

2016-09-27 12:19


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Harare - A hunter in western Zimbabwe has found the carcasses of four more elephants believed to have been poisoned by cyanide, according to a newspaper report on Monday.

The elephants were found on Friday along the Manzamnyama River in Bulilima district. News of these deaths came as the decline of Africa's elephants was in the spotlight following the release on Sunday of a report by the IUCN that showed that around 111 000 elephants had been lost mostly to ivory poachers across the continent in the last decade.

The four elephants were believed to have been poisoned early last week, likely by poachers who put poison in the river and then waited for the elephants to come down to drink, according to the state-owned Chronicle.

The animals had already had their tusks removed.

Tests were being carried out on both of the dead elephants' intestines and on soil and water samples from the river.

These deaths came just two weeks after the suspected killing with cyanide of four elephants along the Lukosi River, outside Hwange National Park, near Sinamatella. In that incident, a policeman was accidentally shot and fatally wounded by a colleague's gun as they pursued the suspected poachers.

More than 200 elephants were killed with cyanide in and around Hwange National Park in 2013. Another 60 were killed using the same method late last year. Worryingly cyanide is fairly easily available in Zimbabwe.

The Chronicle quoted Bulilima Rural District Council officer John Ncube as saying: "It appears these [poisoning] incidents have resurfaced which is a cause for concern."

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

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