Five jumbos die of cyanide poisoning

via Five jumbos die of cyanide poisoning – NewZimbabwe 05/10/2015

POACHERS killed at least five elephants in Hwange National Park in north-west Zimbabwe through cyanide poisoning last week, an official said Monday.

No arrests have yet been made.

Hwange and the nearby Zambezi National Park in Victoria Falls have become the target of wildlife poaching with cyanide, with the most catastrophic episode having claimed more than 100 jumbos in Hwange in 2013.

At least four more were killed in the Zambezi National Park, near Hwange, in 2014.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the latest incident occurred in the Sinamatela area in the sprawling park staffed with insufficient patrollers.

“Investigations reveal that a total of five elephants were killed using a poison suspected to be cyanide mixed with coarse salt applied at a salt lick. Maize cobs were also found at the salt lick suggesting that this could also have been used as bait,” she said.

The dead elephants were an adult female, a sub adult female, one male juvenile and two juvenile females.

The poachers removed tusks from four of them since one of the juveniles already did not have any. All the tusks were, however, recovered at the crime scene.

Washaya-Moyo said a team from the Environmental Management Agency has visited the site of the poisoning while Zimparks has also deployed additional rangers in the area.

Zimbabwe has an elephant population of about 100,000 against a carrying capacity of 40,000. The authorities blame overpopulation, as well as the lack of funding and manpower for the failure of conservation.