Breaking News! Poachers Killed 10 Elephants In Zimbabwe Last Week; Three Suspects Arrested

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BBC

The poaching epidemic sadly continued last week in all its ugliness as 10 elephants, including a mother and her young calf, were reportedly killed in and around Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

According to an article in the Guardian, six of the elephants were found dead with their tusks having been brutally cut off in the southern end of the park, while the remaining four were discovered outside the northern sector on state forestry land.

zimbabwe-today.com

Three arrests were made over the weekend in connection with the poisoning and killing of the endangered animals. One suspect who was apprehended was found in possession of ivory.

Poisoning has become increasingly common in Zimbabwe since 2013 when poachers used cyanide to kill more than 100 elephants during one of the country’s worst known mass poachings in history.

As a result of poisoning the elephants, many predators such as lions and vultures have also lost their lives after consuming the poisoned animals’ flesh, while other wildlife such as antelope and zebra have been killed by drinking from contaminated buckets, watering holes, and salt licks.

The poachers reportedly use a dilute sodium cyanide solution and in some cases, paraquat, a powerful agricultural herbicide that is not only extremely toxic to animals but to humans as well. Both cyanide and paraquat are easily obtainable in Zimbabwe.

Despite rangers having shoot-to-kill orders from the government for any poachers they find within a national park, “the value of ivory and the desperation of many rural Zimbabweans seem to outweigh the risks,” as per the article; though impoverished villagers are not the only ones involved in the poisonings.

International Business Times

The high demand for ivory products, particularly in China and other parts of East Asia, have even lured top police officers among others to participate in the poisoning of elephants.

Colin Gillies, vice-chair of the Matabeleland branch of the Wildlife & Environment Zimbabwe Organization explained in the article that the remote south and north-eastern areas of Hwange National Park are especially difficult for rangers to patrol effectively.

A 2016 report produced by IUCN’s Species Survival Commission’s African Elephant Specialist Group, in partnership with Vulcan Inc., a Paul G. Allen company, and Kenya-based non-profit Save the Elephants confirmed that poaching is responsible for the worst African elephant loss in more than two decades.

International Business Times

WAN strongly encourages donating to a leader in protecting elephants and rhinos on the front lines of the anti-poaching war in Africa, the International Anti Poaching Foundation (IAPF).

In a statement to WAN from IAPF founder Damien Mander, “This is an ongoing tragedy in Zimbabwe, where despite the best efforts by all involved, there simply are not enough resources to be completely on top of this issue. We are about to deploy a new anti-poaching unit in Zimbabwe in the battle against ivory poachers. I hope that we are able to continue generating support from the international community to fight back and give these great animals the peace they deserve.”

WAN and Peace 4 Animals recently made a significant contribution to IAPF to help Damien and his rangers continue their dangerous but increasingly important work to protect our endangered species from extinction!

Please donate to our partner IAPF, Here!

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