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Two suspected poachers were shot dead during an exchange of gunfire with rangers in Matusadona National Park near Binga. The other two suspects managed to slip through the rangers’ dragnet following the shootout on Sunday at around 4PM and are on the run.
ZimParks spokesperson, Mr Tinashe Farawo, said two elephant tusks were recovered following the shooting of the two poachers. He warned poachers that they risk being killed if they invade national parks. “We are sending a strong message to would be poachers that we will do everything in our power to protect our wildlife heritage and by the way our rangers are some of the best trained. We will fight fire with fire if need be,” he said.
Mr Farawo said police and ZimParks personnel had launched a manhunt for the two poachers who escaped. Meanwhile, a police source said two dehorned elephant carcasses were discovered on Sunday at Hwange National Park.
“The carcasses of two elephants suspected to have been killed by poachers were discovered and rangers quickly tracked their spoors until they spotted the poachers. When the poachers saw the anti-poaching team, they started a veld fire and managed to flee from the park,” said the source.
Last week, two elephants were poisoned with cyanide in the Liyasha area of Hwange National Park. One of the jumbos was dehorned.
Three weeks ago, another seven elephants were killed in another cyanide poisoning incident at Sikumi Forestry area in Dete, Matabeleland North.
Three weeks ago, a Forestry Commission officer was arrested for poaching while his three alleged accomplices fled after they were found in possession of ivory in Dinde area in Dete. The poisoning of elephants with cyanide was first reported in 2013 and more than 300 jumbos died in the Hwange National Park, sparking worldwide outrage. In June, a total of 10 elephants died from cyanide poisoning at the same park.
Early this year, a suspected Zambian poacher was shot dead while another one was injured in Sibomvu area in the Pandamasule Forest in Matabeleland North Province.