Five Zimbabwean elephants have been poisoned by poachers in Zimbabwe. A case of elephant poisoning which has not occurred in Zimbabwe for months.
Some patrol officers who were tracking poachers found the dead elephants in the Amandundumela area of the Gwaai Forest.
“Forest protection personnel together with ZRP [police] officers were alerted to this incident and upon tracking the spoor, three elephant carcasses were discovered with the ivory already removed,” Forestry Commission spokesperson Violet Makoto told Zimbabwe’s Chronicle.
“The team also discovered two more elephant carcasses [on Friday],” she said.
Cyanide Poisoning in Zimbabwe
Cyanide is a kind of acid that exists in liquid, solid and gas forms. This chemical compound is quite toxic, in the past it was used a warfare tool. It’s also used on people who are given the death penalty sentence especially in the United States.
Cyanide poisoning occurs when an animal or human being comes in close contact with a large quantity of the acid. When inhaled it alters the breathing pattern making the organism unable to use oxygen. This causes suffocation and eventually results in the death of the organism– elephants in this case.
In 2013, Zimbabwe experienced a catastrophic year in the death of elephants caused by Cyanide poisoning. More than 200 elephants were killed in the Hwange National Park.
In October 2015, another set of animals were killed in Hwange and Lake Kariba. It was reported that elephants totaled 60. In February 2016, some more elephants were killed.
Cyanide is readily available in Zimbabwe due to the proliferation of mines where the acid is most commonly used. Cyanide is used to aid separation of minerals, at safe measures in mines and poses little risk to the humans as deaths are rarely recorded.