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Poachers poisoning animals in Kruger Park

An elephant carcass was found with gun shots to its head, its tusks were removed and poison was laced on it.

An elephant close up. Picture: Conservation Action Trust

JOHANNESBURG - Kruger National Park has discovered an elephant carcass, 110 dead white back vultures, two male lions and two black back jackals killed by wildlife poisoning.

The elephant carcass was found with gun shots to its head, its tusks were removed and poison was laced on it.

Scavengers in the vicinity of the elephant carcass were poisoned from feeding on the exposed areas of the carcass.

Kruger National Park Managing Executive Glenn Phillips, said poachers have employed new tactics to their mission.

"It seems poachers have resorted to wildlife poisoning in the national parks and other protected areas in Southern Africa, and we are devastated by these latest mortalities of our wildlife.

"Wildlife poisoning is not only a threat to our biodiversity assets, but a single incident can affect hundreds of species; thus cutting their life short and diminishing their ecological role."

Phillips added, "We would like to thank our anti-poaching teams for their quick response as the outcome could have been worse, had they had detected the situation late."

Although poisoning has occurred at a low level in South Africa in recent history, the park management said this continues to be a serious challenge in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

He said they have a joint operation with all affected government to put security structures to halt this criminal activity.