BY TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA
THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers last week discovered carcasses of seven elephants that are believed to have died two months ago in Ngamo Forest, on the outskirts of Hwange National Park.
The cause of death for the seven elephants, including a bull and calves, was yet to be established.
“Our investigations are still continuing, but the laboratory results ruled out the suspicion of them dying from cyanide poisoning. We are still exploring the possible causes of their deaths,” ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo told NewsDay.
“The seven deceased elephants were a family because there was a bull and calves.”
Farawo said since there were no carnivores that died after eating the dead jumbo’s meat, there was no possibility of the elephants having taken cyanide poison.
“Hyenas and vultures could’ve also immediately died because they fed on the carcasses, but patrol officers did not see any carnivore that has died. We are suspecting that they might have died from an infection which is still under investigation.
“Their ivory was also still intact, so the other theory could be that they succumbed to a natural cause because when an elephant is aged, its teeth fall off and at times, their trunks could be faulty, which affects their breeding patterns, thereby causing some problems which eventually lead to death.”
Two months ago, two lions were found dead at the Hwange Game Reserve, and their deaths were attributed to tuberculosis.