Two poachers in Zimbabwe have been shot dead for reportedly shooting down an elephant in the Hwange National Park.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said the poachers were shot at a close distance to the Hwange Main Camp, a spot especially loved by tourists.
Gunshots were heard by the park rangers and policemen on Tuesday morning. The Hwange National Park happens to be the same park where Cecil the Lion, a tourist favourite had been killed in 2015. The park, which is also the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe, is located in the western part of Zimbabwe.
“Our rangers, working together with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, have shot and killed two Zimbabwean poachers during a contact at Hwange National Park. They reacted to gunshot sounds at the main camp in the morning,” said Zimparks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo in a statement. She added that three pairs of elephant tusks, a rifle and ammunition were found on, and recovered from the dead poachers.
The Bhejane Trust also added that the two poachers who were shot dead had just shot an elephant which was later identified as an adult bull. “Hats off to the rangers operating under these extremely tough conditions,” the Bhejane trust said in an online statement.
On Wednesday, The Bhejane Trust also announced that another poacher who was identified as a Zambian was killed on Wednesday in the Hurungwe area of the Lower Zambezi Valley.
Cross-border poaching is not uncommon between Zambia and Zimbabwe. At least 7 Zambian poachers have been killed since the beginning of 2016.
The porous border on the river Zambezi between Zambia and Zimbabwe allows for poachers to cross over to Zimbabwe where wildlife is in abundance.