Poachers Poison Five Elephants With Cyanide

May 31, 2016 | Erica Tennenhouse

Photo credit: Rob Hooft/Wikimedia (CC by SA 3.0)

The latest in a series of elephant cyanide deaths in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean rangers have found the bodies of five elephants that were poisoned with cyanide, the Associated Press reports.

According to Violet Makoto, spokeswoman for Zimbabwe's forestry commission, rangers discovered the carcasses of the elephants with their tusks removed in a protected western forest area last week.

Makoto said the poison was laced on salt licks, a method now commonly used by poachers to kill elephants in Zimbabwe. No arrests have yet been made.

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This is the latest in a series of elephant cyanide poisonings perpetrated by poachers over the past 3 years.

Poachers killed 4 other elephants in the same area in February, and 62 elephants were poisoned this way last October.

In 2013 Zimbabwe experienced its first major cyanide poisoning incidents, with more than 200 elephants killed in and around Hwange National Park.

Cyanide poisoning is a painful but quiet killing method, enabling poachers to work without attracting the attention of game rangers. Because it is used in gold mining, cyanide is said to be readily available on the black market in Zimbabwe, News 24 reported.

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