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Four elephants die of cyanide poisoning in Zimbabwe as poachers switch tactics

Ivory poachers are contaminating the animals’ water and food in a bid to avoid detection by park rangers.

Four elephants have died of cyanide poisoning in Zimbabwe as poachers take advantage of a dry spell to contaminate remaining water sources.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo said rangers discovered the carcasses in Hwange National Park on January 25.

He said the animals’ tusks were missing.

The spokesman said poachers are increasingly turning to poison instead of using noisy rifles as police and park rangers increase joint patrols.

Mr Farawo said poachers also are injecting cyanide into oranges and pumpkins, which are favourites of elephants.

The southern African nation teems with elephants and other wildlife, but has battled poachers for years.

Mr Farawo said 53 elephants died from cyanide poisoning last year, lower than in previous years when hundreds of elephants died.

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