Monday, September 20, 2021

Three Gonarezhou lions die in cyanide attack


A lion carcass getting destroyed by Gonarezhou park rangers

Beatific Gumbwanda

– The
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks) recently destroyed three lion
carcases in a bonfire to prevent the cyanide that had killed the lions from
being transferred into the environment, TellZim News can report.

The carcasses were discovered in
the bush by Gonarezhou National Park rangers who then realised that the lions
had died after feeding on a poisoned donkey that was used as bait by poachers.

Clinical tests conducted on the
dead donkey revealed that it had been killed by cyanide poisoning.

In a press statement, Gonarezhou
National Park manager Evious Mpofu said one suspect was arrested in connection
with the illegal killing of the three lions.

“The first incident resulted in
the arrest of a suspected poacher within 48 hours of the three lion carcasses
being found.  The lions had fed on a
poisoned donkey carcass and initial testing showed that the poison used was
cyanide,” said Mpofu.

Mpofu said they engaged members
of the police and army to track the suspected poachers and various items
pointing to the poachers’ involvement in the gruesome crime were found at their

“A successful raid was carried
out by a joint operation with ZRP, Gonarezhou National Park Rangers and two
members of the Zimbabwe National Army on the 20th of July 2020. The
kind of poison used in the first incident, two lion skulls, five lion canine
teeth and six crocodile scales were recovered as a result of the raid.

“The second incident was detected
in Gonarezhou National Park by rangers and a poisoned donkey carcass was
removed before any predators and scavengers had fed on it. After finding the
bait, rangers discovered the camp from which the poachers were operating. All
equipment in the camp was confiscated,” said Mpofu.

Gonarezhou National Park
experienced a sharp increase in poaching incidences before it partnered with
the Frankfurt Zoology in 2017 to improve security.

There had not been a lion
poaching incident in Gonarezhou National Park for almost three years due to the
tighter deployment of skilled game rangers.

Lion bones and teeth are said to
be part of a big illegal wild animal products trade in South Africa and China.




TellZim News is the leading news organization in the Southern region. It provides candid, balanced and timely news from the communities. Keeping it real. Committed to tell Zimbabwe.

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