Five Zimbabwean nationals, Sipho Mafu aged 53 from chief Siphoso in Tsholotsho, Misheck Mafu aged 46 from chief Siphoso in Tsholotsho, Farai Chitsa aged 34 from Old Pumula in Bulawayo, Alexander Ngwenya aged 42 from Tshabalala in Bulawayo and Tinashe .D.Sengwayo aged 22 from Northend in Bulawayo were arrested and are facing allegations of poisoning elephants in Hwange National Park using cyanide. The five poachers it is alleged they applied the cyanide poisoning on natural salt licks. 41 elephant carcasses were discovered near the natural salt pans, 22 carcasses were fresh while 19 were not more than 3 months old. 15 elephant tusks have since been recovered.
In May this year, Tsholotsho Magistrate Mr T. Zhou sentenced Amos Dube 34 years old, Dyke Ncube 51 years old and Samuel Mavundla, all of Tsholotsho, to two years in prison for Illegal hunting elephants using cyanide. The two were further asked to pay US$100 000.00 compensation value to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority by December 2013.
The following were recovered, ivory weighing 162,50kilogrammes valued at US$55 787, 50 and cyanide estimated to be 1,5 Kilograms was recovered from the accused person as well as one leopard skin.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Public Relations Manager, Caroline Washaya-Moyo says poachers continue to use poison as an illegal hunting method. They use poison such as temic and cyanide. She added that this unethical method tends to wipe out anything that it comes to contact with. The poison is either placed in water bodies and or food. The Authority has also stepped up its campaign programs with communities that reside in wildlife areas urging them to desist consuming meat from animals they find dead.
Investigations are continuing.