Fears in Zimbabwe as poachers poison water
(Monday 19th September 2011)
Health fears are on the rise in Zimbabwe as poachers began poisoning water holes in many of the country's biggest game parks, killing dozens of animals.
Caroline Washaya-Mayo, a spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, has told the Sunday Mail newspaper that waterholes have been contaminated with the unidentified poison at the Gonarezhou, Mana Pools, Zambezi, Charara and Matsudona national parks.
"This is the only time we have had cases of poaching involving chemicals," Washaya-Mayo said, adding that poachers are using different techniques that are silent and do not raise suspicion.
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Nine elephants, five lions, two buffaloes and several vultures are among the animals known to have died after drinking the water.
Authorities are concerned that the health of nearby villages may be at risk if residents accidentally drink the contaminated water and urged game rangers patrolling the areas to carry their own water.
In July, a local conservation group accused Chinese miners of using poisoned bread to kill a herd of elephants in the Zambezi Valley.
Poisoned cabbage leaves were reportedly used to kill rhinos in southeastern Zimbabwe last year.
Authorities in once game-rich Zimbabwe have recently stepped up their fight against poachers, killing three suspected rhino poachers in the Chipangayi Safari area on Tuesday.
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