Elephants in Cyanide Shock
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
You think you’ve seen and heard it all. Animals beaten to death, locked away in solitary for year, turned into fur coats, ivory bangles, pseudo-medicinal products….
And then someone takes it to another level of depravity.
In an incident that has only recently come to light, Zimbabwean authorities report the poisoning of over 40 elephants with cyanide – all for the sake of their ivory.
Great, magnificent creatures dying in agony and left to rot. And the poison will also kill any wild scavengers that subsequently come to feed on their elephantine, grey-ghost carcasses.
Cruel, indiscriminate (babies and adults, killed without compassion or thought) and utterly heartless.
The local authorities, many of them doing their very best, have recovered 17 tusks (worth an estimated US$100,000 or more) and 6 suspects have been arrested, but clearly someone has made a killing.
There are fewer and fewer elephants still wandering the plains and forests of Africa. They are the target of spearing, shooting, hunting, poisoning and persecution. The forces protecting them are ill-equipped, thin on the ground and poorly paid.
Our job? To make a difference (as we have just done in Burkina Faso). It’s going to be a hard, long battle for the elephants – but it’s a war we simply cannot afford to lose.
This incident has made me MAD – but the fightback starts now!
Will Travers OBE
CEO Born Free Foundation