Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

14 Elephants Killed With Cyanide in Zimbabwe

Animals

Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is in the limelight again. The park, once home to Cecil the Lion, now has dead elephants on its hands. Eleven elephants were poisoned with cyanide in the park and three more were poisoned in a game park in Kariba in the north of the country just in the past few weeks, wildlife officials told Reuters yesterday.

Park officials found six dead elephants on Sept. 26 with their tusks removed. Then, on Oct. 2, officials found five more elephants killed "after poachers mixed cyanide with coarse salt and maize cobs as bait for the animals," says Reuters. The three elephants killed in Kariba "were poisoned by oranges laced with cyanide." AP reports that the fact that eight of the elephants were killed without their tusks being removed suggests "the poachers were disrupted" during the hunt.

"No arrests have been made in all the cases and investigations are still in progress," Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokeswoman Caroline Washaya-Moyo said. Cyanide use among elephant poachers began in 2013. The chemical is "relatively easy to obtain" in Zimbabwe because of its use in the country's mining industry, according to Reuters.

"Elephant conservation groups said in 2013 as many as 300 elephants died in Hwange park after poachers laced salt pans with cyanide," says Reuters. "The government strongly disputed the figure, saying only a few dozen animals had died."

No matter the exact death toll in Hwange, wildlife poaching has become a massive problem worldwide. Despite heightened awareness of the problem, Louie Psihoyos, award-winning director of The Cove and Racing Extinction, says the “wildlife trade is second only to the drug trade.”

The killing of Cecil the Lion this summer sparked intense Internet outrage, but the problem is truly rampant. Many efforts are being undertaken to put a stop to the illegal trade, including commissioning fake elephant tusks and fitting them with GPS tracking devices, using drones to survey large areas and even using 3-D printers to manufacture fake rhino horns.

After Cecil the Lion's death, several major U.S. airlines announced bans on the shipment of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo, otherwise known as the “African Big Five." And to crack down on the ivory trade, earlier this week California banned the purchase and sale of ivory, thus eliminating the third largest ivory market in the country and joining New York and New Jersey in banning intrastate ivory trade.

Still, the rhino killing spree during last month's supermoon and the recent brutal killing of a beloved elephant in Indonesia highlight how far we have to go in stopping to poaching completely.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Honeybees Face Global Threat: If They Die, So Do We

Solar-Powered Beach Mat Charges Your Phone and Chills Your Beverages

The Hydropower Methane Bomb No One Wants to Talk About

Fracking Boom Goes Bust as Companies File for Bankruptcy

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. CARLOS FABAL / AFP via Getty Images

NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
A baby receives limited treatment at a hospital in Yemen on June 27, 2020. Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2006 oil spill was the largest incident in Philippine history and damaged 1,600 acres of mangrove forests. Shubert Ciencia / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jun N. Aguirre

An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.

Read More Show Less