Quantcast

Poacher Accused of Poisoning More Than 100 Elephants Is Arrested After Four Years on the Run

Popular
iStock

By Joe McCarthy

Tony Maphosa, a Zimbabwean poacher, is accused of putting cyanide in watering holes and salt pans used by elephants numerous times over several years.

All told, his poisoning spree is said to have killed more than 100 elephants, according to Zimbabwean authorities who have been searching for Maphosa for four years.


"[Maphosa] has been on the wanted list in connection poisoning elephants in 2013 and is also linked to the death of eight elephants this year," a police source told the Zimbabwe Chronicle.

He was arrested last week in Hwange National Park following the recent deaths of two elephants from cyanide poisoning, a common tactic used by poachers to remove the ivory tusks of elephants, which can then be sold for a high price internationally. Two tusks were found on him when he was detained.

He could face 15 or more years in prison and more than $1 million in fines, based on past punishments of poachers and guidelines set by the government.

In recent years, some poachers have switched tactics, choosing to poison elephants rather than shoot them because it's stealthier. This arrest brings down a prominent poacher, but the problem in Zimbabwe is far wider than a single individual.

Each year, dozens of elephants are killed in this park alone, which is also where Cecil the Lion was killed, despite there being an active anti-poaching team on duty, according to The Independent.

Lack of funding for park resources, the relentlessness of poachers, and the continued demand for ivory on the global black market keeps this number from falling.

All throughout Africa, poaching undermines efforts at conservation.

Poachers killed 100,000 African elephants in just three years, according to a 2014 study. In central Africa, the total elephant population declined by 64 percent during one decade.

Progress has been made in recent years, however.

China, which consumes an estimated 70 percent of the world's ivory, banned its sale at the start of 2017. The second biggest market for ivory, the U.S., outlawed the resale of ivory within the country in 2016.

More than 180 other countries agreed to ban the sale of ivory in 2016.

Black market sales of ivory could remain unaffected by these bans, but advocates hope that law enforcement will turn their attention to closing ivory corridors and that consumers will begin to lose their appetite for ivory.

Ending demand is the ultimate goal, because if elephant tusks no longer generate income, then poaching will cease.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Dakota Access pipeline being built in Iowa. Carl Wycoff / CC BY 2.0

The fight between the Standing Rock Sioux and the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline is back on, as the tribe opposes a pipeline expansion that it argues would increase the risk of an oil spill.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Scanning electron micrograph of Yersinia pestis, which causes bubonic plague, on proventricular spines of a Xenopsylla cheopis flea. NIAID / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A middle-aged married couple in China was diagnosed with pneumonic plague, a highly infectious disease similar to bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe in the middle ages, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Milk made from almonds, oats and coconut are among the healthiest alternatives to cow's milk. triocean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Dairy aisles have exploded with milk and milk alternative options over the past few years, and choosing the healthiest milk isn't just about the fat content.

Whether you're looking beyond cow's milk for health reasons or dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different options, you may wonder which type of milk is healthiest for you.

Read More Show Less
Greta Thunberg stands aboard the catamaran La Vagabonde as she sets sail to Europe in Hampton, Virginia, on Nov. 13. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist whose weekly school strikes have spurred global demonstrations, has cut short her tour of the Americas and set sail for Europe to attend COP25 in Madrid next month, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less