Six elephants found dead following suspected cyanide poisoning in Zimbabwe

-According to witness accounts, the bodies were discovered near each other with missing their tusks, along a trail that led to watering holes, indicative of cyanide poisoning.

John Cassim

One of the six carcasses found in the Gwayi-Shangani Wildlife Conservancy recently after suspected cyanide poisoning

Harare, Zimbabwe – At least six adult elephants have died from what appears to have been cyanide poisoning at a watering hole in the Gwayi, Shangani wildlife conservancy near Hwange National Park.

The carcasses whose tusks had been removed were found close to each other, in a decomposed state.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident but said investigations were still ongoing to determine the cause of the deaths.

“We have an incident where six elephants were found dead in Gwayi/Shangani area but we cannot ascertain the cause of the death because the elephants were found in a decomposing state.

Our veterinary doctors are investigating the cause so we can’t really say it’s poisoning at the moment as we can’t confirm that,” said, Tinashe Farawo

Meanwhile, wildlife sources have told ConserveZim that the six elephants were cyanide poisoned.

The bodies were discovered in close proximity to one another, perhaps 300 to 500 metres apart and also close to the water hole.

According to additional sources, the absence of maggots and scavengers on the bodies was another indication that the elephants had been poisoned.

The elephants’ dehorning, according to the wildlife conservationist, raises the possibility that poaching was the driving force behind their deaths.

In Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife park, Hwange National Park, poachers killed up to 300 elephants in 2013 in a similar manner.

The government contested the figure, claiming that only a few dozens elephants that died, but actual the data showed that hundreds of the Jumbos had died.

This incidence occurred at the same time when an El Nino-induced drought in the Hwange National Park area is likely to have caused the deaths of over 100 elephants from starvation.

The region’s weather outlook for 2023–2024 indicates that the region will receive normal to below-average rainfall.

Since there is no major river that flows through Hwange, the area is always dry. Several solar-powered boreholes have been erected to provide water for the wildlife’s management.

Poachers are aware of the watering spots, and they take advantage of the lucrative ivory trade in Asia by killing the elephants with cyanide.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top