|A lion carcass getting destroyed by Gonarezhou park rangers|
CHIREDZI – 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 hideout.
“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.