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Police have arrested a suspected poacher for allegedly poisoning over 100 elephants using cyanide at Hwange National Park.
Tony Maphosa, who has been on the run since 2013, allegedly poisoned water points and salt pans with cyanide resulting in the death of more than 100 elephants. Maphosa was arrested in the national park on Wednesday following a tip off.
An anti-poaching team comprising rangers from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and police recovered two pieces of ivory from him. Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo confirmed the arrest. “A man from Tsholotsho was arrested on Wednesday with two elephant tusks,” he said.
Mr Farawo said an anti-poaching team was still on the ground in the national park following the killing of two elephants which were discovered on Monday in a suspected case of cyanide poisoning.
Police national spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said he was yet to receive a report on the arrest.
However, police sources said Maphosa was detained at Dete Police Station and is expected to appear in court in Hwange in due course. “He has been on the wanted list in connection with poisoning of elephants in 2013 and is also linked to the death of eight elephants this year,” said a police source.
Meanwhile, two people have been jailed for nine years each for illegally possessing three pieces of ivory valued at $900 and 270 grammes of cyanide. David Ndlovu (42) and Nkathazo Penga (33) confessed to killing five jumbos by lacing oranges with the deadly cyanide when they were arrested on July 4 at Cross Dete where they were selling the ivory.