Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe has been the scene of another unnecessary killing, as park officials have confirmed they found 11 elephants poisoned to death with cyanide. Just months after Cecil the Lion was killed by American dentist Dr. Walter James Palmer in the same park, park rangers found the deceased elephants next to a cyanide-laced salt lick, several with their tusks removed. Authorities have also said three additional elephants were found dead in Matusadona Park, also from cyanide poisoning.
The deceased elephants were believed to be targeted by ivory poachers, although just four of the found elephants had their tusks removed. Park rangers speculate that the poachers were scared off while removing the tusks. Aside from these four, several of the other elephants weren’t not even old enough to have tusks, but also ingested the cyanide.
The scene at Hwange National Park was a tragic one, with not only just elephants falling victim to the poisoned salt lick. Vultures and impalas were also found dead at the site. Officials anticipate the cyanide to further poison a tightly-knit ecosystem.
The elephants from Matusadona National Park were likely killed with cyanide-soaked orange peels. Zimbabwean police told CNN five suspects are in custody. Every 15 minutes, an elephant dies somewhere in the world.