By Leonard Ncube
Seven elephants were found dead in Hwange National Park on Saturday in a suspected case of cyanide poisoning.
Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers conducting routine patrols found elephant carcasses in the Mukona area of the game park.
The Chronicle was told that the carcasses were in an advanced state of decomposition raising fears of cyanide poisoning.
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident and said investigations were underway.
“It is true that some elephants were found dead and a team is already on the ground taking samples as we are yet to ascertain the cause of death.
All I can say for now is that all departments that make up the anti-poaching unit are on the ground as investigations are being done,” said Mr Farawo.
He could not confirm if the jumbos still had their tusks and said finer details would be availed in due course after investigations are concluded.
Hundreds of elephants have died at Hwange National Park since 2013 due to cyanide poisoning.
In some cases, rangers have recovered oranges laced with cyanide placed strategically on trees where they can be eaten by elephants.
In January last year, rangers discovered several sites laced with cyanide at Sinanga in Hwange National Park.
Cyanide, which is mainly used in the mining industry, is dangerous to humans, animals and the environment.
During a recent Africa Union-United Nations Wildlife Economy Summit held in Victoria Falls, President Mnangagwa said Government is working on a number of measures aimed at fighting poaching which is rampant in the country.
The measures, he said, include introducing new technology such as use of drones for patrols.
During the conference, African nations were challenged to ensure that communities living near game parks are included in wildlife management so as to reduce human-wildlife conflict and poaching. The Chronicle