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Monday, October 21, 2013

Over 300 elephants poisoned in Zim park


This is beyond horrendous!

Incidentally… On 22 June 2013 a Krome Metal Chemicals truck was hijacked in Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa. The truck was carrying the highly toxic chemical, potassium cyanide at the time. Media reports published on 27 June 2013 mentioned that the truck was still missing and that investigations were continuing, but since then nothing further has come to light.

Elephant carcass
The carcass of an elephant which was killed after drinking poisoned water lies near a watering hole in Zimbabwes Hwange National Park. Picture: Reuters.

By SAPA - October 21 2013 at 04:26pm

Harare - More than 300 elephants and other animals have died of cyanide poisoning by poachers in Zimbabwe's largest game park, a wildlife conservation group said Monday.

“In July, around 300 elephants had died from cyanide poisoning in Hwange and were discovered by a group of hunters who flew over the area,” Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force told AFP.

He said other animals that have also been killed include lions, vultures, painted dogs and hyenas.

“The authorities only stepped in in September and by then the numbers had escalated. As at last week, about 325 had died altogether.”

Government officials were not immediately available to confirm the figure.

The parks and wildlife authority said last week that the death toll from poisoning was 100. Four poachers have been jailed for at least 15 years each for the crime.

Rodrigues accused the authorities of downplaying the toll, adding that poaching masterminds often got off scot-free.

“The problem is that a big cover-up is going on,” he said.

“Those who have been arrested and convicted are the small fry who are being used as scapegoats while the big and dangerous fish are untouched. These include politicians and big business people,” said Rodrigues.

Police have given villagers living around the park until the end of October to hand over any cyanide they might have or risk arrest.

However, some traditional leaders from areas bordering the park have pleaded with the authorities to pardon those arrested for poaching, saying they were driven by poverty not greed.

Just 50 rangers patrol the 14 650-square kilometre (5 660-square mile) park, and wildlife authorities say ten times that number are needed.

There are more than 120 000 elephants roaming Zimbabwe's national parks.

Elephant tusks and other body parts are prized in Asia and the Middle East for ornaments, as talismans, and for use in traditional medicine.

The international trade in ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after the population of African elephants dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to just 600 000 by the end of the 1980s.

Wildlife experts estimate that the illegal international ivory trade is worth up to $10 billion a year.

Sapa-AFP

Sourced from: ioLnews


1 comments :

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Tia, I could just weep when I read stories like this and quite honestly, my true thoughts and feelings could never be put into print.

The rage and fury that builds up in me is all-consuming and all I can say is, thank God for people like Johnny Rodrigues.

He is fighting an uphill battle all the way, but may God bless him for the work he does, because without his tireless efforts for the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, I tremble to think how much worse the wildlife situation would be.

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