Cyanide poisoning kills 22 more jumbos

via Cyanide poisoning kills 22 more jumbos – NewZimbabwe 26/10/2015

CYANIDE poisoning has killed 22 elephants in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said on Monday.

This brings to 62 the number of elephants poisoned by poachers in October.

The security services have reportedly upgraded wildlife poaching to a “national security issue”.

“Poaching and trafficking activities are now conducted by sophisticated transnational criminal networks,” CIO boss Happyton Bonyongwe said according to local reports.

“This menace has threatened not only the security of the countries, where these activities are carried out, but has negatively impacted on wildlife tourism.”

Rangers found the carcasses of the elephants in Hwange park’s Sinamatella area on Monday morning, national parks spokeswoman Caroline Washaya-Moyo told The Associated Press.

“Again, it is cyanide poisoning,” said Washaya-Moyo, who said the poachers got away with three ivory tusks.

“We are now trying to check how many elephants had fully developed tusks because babies are among those killed,” she said.

“The rate at which we are losing animals to cyanide is alarming. Many other species are also dying from the cyanide used by poachers to target elephants.

“We are appealing to people in communities close to national parks to cooperate with authorities.”

In early October, the parks reported three incidents in which 40 elephants were killed by cyanide poisoning. Three were killed in the Kariba area of cyanide put in oranges. The rest were killed in Hwange park.

In 2013, more than 200 elephants died from cyanide poisoning in Hwange.

Washaya-Moyo said the parks agency is hoping that trained dogs from South Africa and the deployment of drones will help tighten monitoring of the vast park in the west of this wildlife-rich country.

On Monday, the national parks also announced that over the weekend authorities at Harare International Airport seized 173 kilograms of ivory worth $43,250 that was about to be smuggled to Singapore.

Three Zimbabweans and a Malian national were arrested over the smuggling bid, the parks agency said.

“We would like to thank the alert law enforcement agents based at Harare international airport for the swift arrest,” Washaya-Moyo told

“And, as parks, we are seized with the case involving the poaching and the subsequent smuggling of the game products. The four are expected to appear in court once the police concluded their investigations.”

“The cases of elephants poisoning seem to have increased in the past few months with 14 cases have been reported earlier this months while six others were recorded late last month,” she said added.

“We have since launched intensive investigations.”


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    CIO force anti-poaching expert to flee

    Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives are heavily involved in poaching threatened wildlife species, according to an anti-poaching expert.
    Rory Young, an ardent conservationist who is involved in training locals in anti-poaching techniques in various countries in Africa, recently fled Zimbabwe with his family for an un-disclosed destination following threats from named CIO operatives.
    Young, who confirmed to The Zimbabwean that he was involved in anti-poaching training throughout Africa, said problems started when the Zimbabwean government gave him the authority to train police details and scouts in the Nyaminyami area – but certain CIO agents in Kariba did not like the idea.
    “On my way to do further training of Zimbabwe Republic Police and scouts in the Nyaminyami area I received a message from a third party to report to the Office of the President in Kariba. After a full and long interrogation I was told that I was not allowed to train anyone and if I did I would be arrested,” he said.
    Shut up
    Young informed the CIO operatives that he had been given authority by the Zimbabwe Republic Police General Headquarters and had been granted a two year residence permit to carry out the training – but they would not listen to him.
    “I was told to shut up (and they said) that they were above the police and that even if I had done nothing wrong they would find a reason to arrest me and throw away the key unless I stayed away from the area and did no training in Zimbabwe,” he said.
    Young attributed the resistance to his training initiative to the fact that the secret service agents were involved in poaching and trafficking of wild animals. He said the CIO officers openly boasted that they were working with two unnamed Europeans employed by some NGOs in Kariba who informed them about whatever happened in the wildlife areas, adding that they would easily know of his activities if he went ahead with his anti-poaching activities.
    After his encounter with the agents, Young decided to discontinue training activities in the area. But he continued to use Zimbabwe as a base as he carried out similar activities in other countries. However, the secret service continued to make threats on his life as a way of ensuring that he did not return to the area.
    “Unfortunately CIO didn’t stop there and we began to hear via third parties that they were making more threats against me, obviously to ensure I didn’t come back to the area.
    “They wanted me and anyone like me far away from Matusadona and Nyaminyami. I subsequently heard that another well-known international anti-poaching organisation was told to stay away and also threatened,” added Young.
    He said he went through prolonged fear every time he returned to Zimbabwe from other countries, fearing that he could be abducted. And all the while he watched helplessly while elephants were being killed in Matusadona and Nyaminyami.
    Desperate for cash
    “Now you know who is behind the poaching of the elephants in Northern Zimbabwe and why we left the country. Mugabe’s government is desperate for cash and this is why they are going to the extremes they are, such as tearing wild baby elephants away from their mothers and herds and sending them to China.