Parks officials on high alert for cyanide poisoning

Mr Tinashe Farawo

Mr Tinashe Farawo

Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has said it is on high alert after discovering four sites laced with cyanide in Hwange National Park.

Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said they were working on detoxicating the affected areas.

“On January 17, we located about two sites which were laced with cyanide. About five days later we located an additional two at Sinanga area in Hwange main camp and we’ve alerted EMA about the case and we are detoxicating those sites so that the environment is safe,” said Mr Farawo.

He said cyanide was dangerous to humans, animals and the environment. “People should know that this cyanide does not only kill elephants, it also destroys the environment. It also destroys non-targeted species.

“We have hyenas which can feed on carcases, vultures so it’s a whole chain which can be affected by cyanide,” he said.

Last week, four jumbos were reportedly poisoned and dehorned outside Hwange National Park.

Mr Farawo said the jumbos’ decomposing carcasses were discovered over the weekend, amid indications of cyanide poisoning.

“The elephants were in a state of decomposition, but had already been skinned with their tusks missing. They were found just outside the park in separate places. A bucket with cyanide was discovered near one of the elephants,” he said.

Hundreds of elephants have died at Hwange National Park since 2013 due to cyanide poisoning.

Predators and scavengers that feed on the poisoned remains have been dying also, including lions, hyenas, and jackals. The poison also leaks into water sources, leading to widespread environmental contamination.


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