An unidentified poacher involved with the mass killing of elephants via cyanide has been shot by rangers at Zimbabwe’s Matusadonha Game Preserve. Three others, however managed to escape capture.According to parks spokeswoman Caroline Washaya-Moyo, “the poacher was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in the resort border town of Kariba.
Government officials report that local villagers have been planting buckets of water laced with cyanide in the sand which they then sell the elephants’ tusks for approximately $580 each to border traders. The tusks are then resold for up to $10,000 a pair (many as carved artifacts) in South Africa and beyond.
Equally tragic is the fact that other animals including kudus and water buffalo drawn to the water during the dry season, as well as predators such as lions, hyenas and vultures that come to feed off the elephant carcasses are drawn to the poisoned water during the dry season becoming collateral damage for no good reason.
To date, only 12 people have been arrested in connection with the killings, despite beefed up patrols by Zimbabwean forces .Five have already been handed prison sentences of a 16 years with heavy fines.
For more information see Diana’s article http://www.examiner.com/article/elephants-zimbabwe-killed-by-cyanide