11 more elephants found dead

By Nokuthaba Dlamini 

Eleven more elephants have died in Victoria Falls with the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) working with animal welfare organisations yet to determine the cause of their deaths.

Last week, 11 carcasses with their tusks intact were discovered in the Panda Masuie forest, located between Hwange national park and Victoria Falls.

ZimParks and animal rights organisations have so far ruled out cyanide poisoning and poaching as the cause of the deaths.

Wild is Life Trust, announced on Wednesday that they are conducting investigations in collaboration with Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, Forestry Commission and Zimparks.

“To date, a total of twenty-two (22) carcasses have been identified, across Panda Masuie Woodlands Estate and Zambezi National Park,” the organisation said in a statement.

“Cause of death continues to be speculative, until conclusive results from laboratories are received.”

The organisation added that they have recorded GPS coordinates of all the carcasses, which are “a mixed range of ages, from youngsters to adults.”

Wild is Life thanked the frontline doctors who have been working tirelessly to get to the bottom of the mysterious deaths.

“We would like to thank Dr Chris Foggin and Roger Parry, of the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, for their meticulous attention to detail, their expertise and commitment in getting to the bottom of these unexplained mortalities,” the organisation said.

‘Thanks also to International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) for their support in this urgent and tragic event and thanks to the Forestry Commission and ZimParks who have attended the scene and who have also taken samples for further investigation.”

Last month, more than 275 elephants died mysteriously in Botswana and investigations to ascertain the cause of the mortalities are still going on.

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