Zim elephant poisoning: Work of disgruntled rangers?

2015-10-28 12:54
(MAPP, via Facebook)

(MAPP, via Facebook)

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Harare – As the poisoning of Zimbabwe's elephants continues unabated, conservation sources apparently believe it is the work of disgruntled and cash-strapped rangers protesting against meagre salaries.

According to The Telegraph, the sources believed that some of the poisoning was done by rangers who risked their lives regularly to combat often heavily-armed poachers, but were paid "badly".

The report said one of two rangers recently arrested on suspicion of poisoning elephants, earned just £280 (R5 800) a month, including allowances. Yet a single elephant can yield 10kg of ivory with a market value of around £19 000 (R396 000).

"Some of the rangers are very dissatisfied with their remuneration and say that they are not getting some allowances they believe they should get," a source close to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) was quoted as saying.

"But they know that management in Harare do get these allowances, such as help with school fees for their kids."

Zimbabwe's state-owned broadcaster ZBC reported recently that at least 62 elephants were known to have been killed by cyanide since September in Hwange and Kariba. The latest carcasses were found in the Sinamatella area of Hwange.

The report quoted Zimparks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo as saying the killings occurred "despite five suspects having been arrested in connection with cyanide poisonings in Hwange".

A haul of 173 kg of ivory was intercepted at Harare International Airport at the weekend, apparently bound for Singapore.

Cyanide is readily available on the black market in Zimbabwe, and often used in illegal gold panning.

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

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