Poachers Use Cyanide to Kill 5 Elephants

Officials suspect team of about 5 poachers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 30, 2016 4:37 PM CDT
In this file photo, a game ranger walks by a rotting elephant carcass, in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Zimbabwean officials say poachers killed five elephants by poisoning them with cyanide, the AP reports. Violet Makoto, spokeswoman for Zimbabwe's forestry commission, said Monday that rangers discovered the carcasses of the elephants with their tusks removed in a western forest last week. Makoto says the poison was laced on salt licks, a method now regularly used by poachers to kill elephants in Zimbabwe. She says poachers killed four other elephants in the same area in February. No arrests have been made, but Makoto tells AllAfrica.com that "we are suspecting a team of about five poachers. We came across a camp sometime ago, which looked like it accommodated about five people and we think it is the same team."

The wildlife-rich southern African country has battled cyanide poisoning of wildlife by poachers for the past three years. Poachers killed 62 elephants by that method in October. Cyanide kills painfully but quietly, enabling poachers to work without attracting game rangers. Used in gold mining, cyanide is said to be readily available on the black market in Zimbabwe, News 24 reports. (Read more Zimbabwe stories.)

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