Zim police recover 6kg of cyanide concentrate from elephant poachers (Zimbabwe)


The Citizen

Date Published

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Cyanide poisoning is now the preferred method of elephant poaching because of its ‘silent killing’ capabilities.

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested three elephant poachers and recovered 6kg of cyanide concentrate that the suspects intended to use to poison waterholes in the Chishakwe Conservancy, Hwange and Mana Pools National Parks.

Suspected poacher Innocent Nyathi was apprehended by villagers in the Gwayi area near Hwange National Park, leading to the recovery of 4kg of raw ivory and 3kg of cyanide concentrate in powder form.

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Caroline-Washaya Moyo said Nyathi, who appeared in court in Hwange on Monday, was sentenced to nine years in jail for the illegal possession of elephant tusks.

Police are still looking for his accomplice who escaped arrest.

Washaya Moyo said a joint anti-poaching unit comprising police and game rangers apprehended Munashe Chandake in Masvingo and recovered 2kg of cyanide concentrate.

Moyo was arrested while allegedly on a poaching mission in the Chishakwe Conservancy in the same province.

In Guruve, Petros Kunyeti was sentenced to 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to the illegal possession of 500g of cyanide concentrate. The convict was apprehended by a patrol team in Mana Pools.

In 2013, more than 300 elephants were killed by poachers using cyanide poisoning in Hwange National Park.

Since then, the use of cyanide poison to lace waterholes to kill elephants has spread across the country with devastating consequences in Gonarezhou, Chizarira, Matusadona, Zambezi and Matetsi National Parks.

Cyanide poisoning, now the preferred method of elephant poaching because of its “silent killing” capabilities, has also spread to areas outside designated national parks.

Apart from elephants, the indiscriminate use of the cyanide poison has also killed a variety of other animals including vultures, lions and jackals.