In the savannas of Zimbabwe, home to some of Africa's most iconic wildlife, poaching of elephants is at an all-time high. But as their numbers continue to slip lower despite efforts to curb illegal hunting, the elephants themselves may prove to be a poacher's greatest deterrent.
According to Zimbabwe's Sunday Mail, the trampled body of an illegal hunter was discovered in Charara National Park, following the arrest of his partner late last month. The report indicates that the deceased poacher, Solomon Manjoro, was attempting to gun down an elephant when it charged and killed him.
Manjoro's accomplice, Noluck Tafuruka, and a third man involved in the poaching operation were arraigned last week to face charges of possessing firearms without a licence. Their visit to the park has been described as 'for the sole purpose of poaching'.
It's uncertain why incidents of elephants charging poachers don't occur more regularly, but perhaps as more of the animals have lost family members to poaching, they've grown more agressive to those appearing to be a similar threat.
In recent years, poaching of elephants and rhinos in wildlife reserves in Africa has spiked dramatically, fueled largely by demand for their prized tusks and horns. Meanwhile, both conservationists and wildlife officers have struggled to protect these animals from hunters, a daunting task given the vast areas to be protected and the stealthiness of poachers who often enter the parks under cover of darkness.
Via The Telegraph