Eleven new elephant carcasses have been found in Hwange National Park – raising fears that the use of cyanide poisoning by organised poaching syndicates could be more widespread than initially thought.
An aerial survey by the Wildlife Environment of Zimbabwe last week exposed previously unreported elephant deaths in the Ngamo and Sikumi forestry areas.
“While initial reports of poisoning were confined to the southern area of the park, it was later discovered that the eastern border area had also been affected,” said Collin Gillies, a member of the Matabeleland chapter of WEZ.
He said eight new carcasses were discovered between Boss Longone pan and an area 2,7 kilometres north off the main tarred road to Sinamatella. “The first flight extending as far south as Lupane and covered the whole of Ngamo forestry area. We found three carcasses in addition to the initial five that had been reported,” he said.
The second flight covered the entire Sikumi forestry area and apart from an already known poaching incident near Ganda lodge not involving poison, no other carcasses were seen.
Conservationist Pat Cox provided his plane and his services to do the survey following concerns about conflicting poaching figures in the media as it reported the worst massacre of wildlife for profit in 25 years.
The government only panicked and stepped-in in September, saying 100 animals had been poisoned. More....