Forestry Commission officials in Victoria Falls last week recovered oranges, cucumbers and amarula fruits in a plastic bag laced with cyanide poison.
It is suspected that some poachers left them hanging on a tree in a bid to kill elephants in the forest. National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident.
“On June 3, 2020, a Victoria Falls Forestry Commission Patrol team discovered oranges, cucumbers and amarula fruits in a plastic bag, hanged in a Mususu tree in the Fuller forest,” he said. The fruits were tested and results revealed that they were laced with cyanide poison.
“Poachers use this method to kill animals for their selfish gain. Members of the public are warned against poaching.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said investigations were still in progress and no arrests had been made.
In 2018, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) discovered four elephant carcasses at Hwange National Park following suspected cyanide poisoning.
The elephant tusks had already been removed when the carcasses were found.
Separately, two people were also arrested in Binga after they were found in possession of two pieces of ivory.
In 2015, at least 26 elephants were found poisoned by cyanide in the Hwange National Park, barely a week after 14 jumbos died. ZimParks officials said 16 jumbos were found dead in Lupande area, while another 10 were found at Chakabvi in Nyamatela.
They recovered 14 tusks while seven other elephants had their tusks poached.