- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Zimbabwe officials reported that 87 elephants have been poisoned with cyanide by ivory poachers in Hwange National Park since May.

The poachers poisoned natural salt licks to kill the protected animals, said Caroline Washaya-Moyo, public relations manager for Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

The parks authority have recovered 51 tusks so far, leaving 123 in the hands of the poachers, CNN reported.

Zimbabwe’s newly appointed Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told CNN that one of his “missions” is to push for stiffer jail penalties for poachers.

Authorities arrested five suspected poachers last month after 41 elephants were found dead in the park, the report said. Three have been convicted.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force seeks stiffer penalties for the country’s poachers.

“They need to be given some extensive jail time. If it was, they wouldn’t carry on doing it,” said the organization’s chairman, Johnny Rodrigues, adding that all of the animals that feed on the elephant carcasses face death as well.

Police suspect there could be more elephant carcasses in the park that have not yet been discovered, CNN reported.

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