Zimbabwe poachers kill 14 elephants with cyanide

Zimbabwe poachers kill 14 elephants with cyanide

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 2:02 pm

Poisoned elephants: courtesy National Geographic

Poisoned elephants: courtesy National Geographic

The Zimbabwe National Wildlife Agency on Wednesday said that suspected poachers used cyanide to kill 14 elephants in Zimbabwe’s western Hwange National park.

Hwange, home of Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, Cecil, who was killed by an American dentist in July, holds 53,000 elephants, twice the park’s carrying capacity, the park’s agency says.

The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokeswoman, Caroline Washaya-Moyo, said six elephants were killed on Sept. 26 inside Hwange Park and their tusks were removed.

Similarly, on Oct. 2, rangers discovered the carcasses of another five elephants which had been killed after poachers mixed cyanide with coarse salt and maize cobs as bait for the animals, she said.

Washaya-Moyo added that three other elephants were poisoned by oranges laced with cyanide in a game park in Kariba, north of Zimbabwe, bringing to 14 the number of elephants killed.

Cyanide is widely used in Zimbabwe’s mining industry and is relatively easy to obtain.

“No arrests have been made in all the cases and investigations are still in progress,” Washaya-Moyo said.

Over the years, poachers have used rifles and other traps to poach Zimbabwe’s elephants, but started using cyanide in 2013(

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