Suspected poachers ‘kill 14 elephants with cyanide’ in Zimbabwe

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Suspected poachers used cyanide to kill 14 elephants in Zimbabwe’s western and in the north since Sept 26, the national wildlife agency said on Tuesday

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 Zimbabwe 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.

A photo from 2013 in which workers look at a rotting carcass in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe Photo: AP
A photo from 2013 showing an elephant, a cow and two calves dead at mineral site, Zimbabwe

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

Dead elephants at Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Washaya-Moyo said three 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.

Cecil was a popular attraction among visitors to the Hwange National Park Photo: AFP

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.

Elephant conservation groups said in 2013 as many as 300 elephants died in Hwange park after poachers laced salt pans with cyanide. The government strongly disputed the figure, saying only a few dozen animals had died.

This article was first published by The Telegraph on 06 Oct 2015.


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Marilyn-Brian Ashman

Linda French ,
Now if only our Governments would Ban any Trade Agreements, enforced by the public through Aggressive Protests, just maybe this will Stop ( in particular, Asians ) !

Marilyn-Brian Ashman

I couldn't Agree with you more !
I'm so friggin mad and bewildered as to, why on this earth, is this still happening to Africa's Animals . "All" that are Involved, (Poachers+Government+Asia) should face a Death Penalty with no appeal!!!

Jacqui Kaplan Lipschitz

Linda French I'm a South African and I can tell you that there are SO many wonderful conservation organizations there, that you should go ahead and visit with a clear conscience. It's not all bad, I assure you!

Heidi Bresilge

Yes, Linda~ sadly that is true. But we need to keep fighting for the right thing and never give up!

Linda French

Until the Asian market stops wanting all of this it will never end, and unfortunetly every animal that they use on one form or another will be extinct, thanks to them. We contineu to trade with these countries, and we turn our heads and look the other way. They have millions and millions more in population, who see not to want to be educated or have not learned compassion for life.

Linda French

Your idea is excellent and common sense would tell you that this should be done. However, I honestly feel that there is to much corruption inside the government and perhaps inside the agency responsible to protect these animals. The money is to much for those who are greedy to stop it. Why also can they not tighten down on how the ivory is leaving the country, surely this can be controlled! I find the whole thing disgusting and barbaric. I have long wanted to go to Africa to photo the wildlife – but honestly really have a tough time supporting… Read more »

Heidi Bresilge

And now, hideous humans are targeting walrus' for theri tusks as well. I just can't wrap my brain around that fact that so many people have it in their hearts and souls to do such horrific things.

Heidi Bresilge

I'm with you, Mark!!

Sandy Greer

So agree with the comments below!

Anne Grice

The ivory loving nations will not stop until Zimbabwe and the other African nations are crippled financially, emotionally and have to depend on them at which time these countries will be too indebted to them! Well done Africa for destroying your nations for short term ivory, skin and bones $$$. Some people never learns!

Michael Smith

Obviously Zimbabwe, and other African countries, are unable to stem the continual slaughter or are unable to resist the financial rewards by promoting
it, which is of international concern. So it is time the United Nations did develop a strategy to counteract this slaughter, both legal and illegal.

Mark McCandlish

I get so angry and frustrated when I read about these events that I am practically speechless. It seems to me that an aliance ought to be formed between the World Wildlife Fund and the United Nations to develop a wildlife defense army. Essentially bring modern warfare technology to the poaching battlefield with a "kill on sight" policy regarding poachers. Hell. I might even sign up for that gig. And the plight of the Rhino is far worse…