Poachers in Zimbabwe poison 87 elephants for ivory
Poachers in Zimbabwe poison 87 elephants for ivory, official says
by Laura Smith-Spark and Columbus S. Mavhunga from CNN
Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- More than 80 elephants in Zimbabwe have been poisoned with cyanide -- the latest victims of poachers keen to feed soaring global demand for illegally trafficked ivory.
Since May, the carcasses of 87 elephants have been discovered in Hwange National Park, said Caroline Washaya-Moyo, public relations manager for Zimbabwe's Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
The poachers poisoned natural salt licks to bring down the mighty beasts, she said Wednesday.
The parks authority has so far recovered 51 tusks, she said -- leaving 123 in the hands of the poachers.
Zimbabwe's newly appointed Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told CNN that he would push for stiffer jail penalties to root out poaching in the wildlife-rich African nation.
"That will be one of my missions in the new parliament, given the recent case of elephants which were poisoned by poachers," said Kasukuwere, who visited the park 10 days ago to see the impact of the poisoning.
Last month authorities arrested five suspected poachers after 41 elephants were found dead in the park, which is about 800 kilometers (500 miles) southwest of Harare, not far from Zimbabwe's border with Zambia. The other carcasses have been discovered since then, Washaya-Moyo said.
Three of those arrested have been convicted and are due to be sentenced this week, she said. Two investigations are ongoing.