Park rangers allegedly poison elephants to death as pay dispute 'protest'

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Earlier this week, 22 elephants, including babies, at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe were poisoned to death. The elephants were reportedly poisoned by the very rangers who were meant to protect them.

The staff at Hwange National Park reportedly receive extremely low salaries. In addition, they did not receive their already low wages when they were supposed to this month. It is feared and reported that the staff poisoned the elephants as a form of "protest" against the park's management.

Today, disturbing pictures have emerged online that show the elephant remains scattered along the ground after being mutilated for their tusks. You can see the graphic images here.

In the images, the elephants lay slaughtered and beheaded. According to inside sources, the park rangers did not receive due pay for the fuel used to pump the park's watering holes. In addition, they are notoriously underpaid despite risking their lives to fight off armed poachers. A source from Zimbabwe's National Parks and Wildlife Authority said:

"I am afraid there are serious management problems within parks. Some of the rangers are very dissatisfied with their remuneration and say that they are not getting some allowances they believe they should get. So many of us believe that some of the poaching at the moment is organized and executed by some rangers in parks, and we don't know how this will be sorted out."


The poachers in this incident apparently killed the elephants with cyanide. In addition to beheading the elephants, the poachers escaped the scene with three ivory tusks. The upsetting occurrence brings the number of elephants poisoned by poachers in Zimbabwe this month to 62. Washaya-Moyo said:

"We recovered 22 elephant carcasses in the Sinamatela area and so far we have also recovered 35 tusks. Initial investigations indicate that there was cyanide poisoning. We continue to lobby for deterrent penalties for people found with poisonous substances such as cyanide. We can't continue to lose wildlife at such a rate."

Last year, more than 300 elephants died in suspected cyanide poisonings. Washaya-Moyo said that the park's agency is hoping to bring in trained dogs and drones to help monitor the enormous wildlife park.

Click through this slideshow to see images of the elephants before the incident occurred as well as graphic images of a similar poaching incident that occurred in 2013:

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Park rangers allegedly poison elephants to death as pay dispute 'protest'
In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, elephants cross the road in Hwange National Park, about 700 kilometres south west of Harare. Fourteen elephants were poisoned by cyanide in Zimbabwe in three separate incidents, two years after poachers killed more than 200 elephants by poisoning, Zimbabweâs National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, elephants cross the road in Hwange National Park, about 700 kilometres south west of Harare. Fourteen elephants were poisoned by cyanide in Zimbabwe in three separate incidents, two years after poachers killed more than 200 elephants by poisoning, Zimbabweâs National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, an elephant is seen in Hwange National Park, about 700 kilometres south west of Harare. Fourteen elephants were poisoned by cyanide in Zimbabwe in three separate incidents, two years after poachers killed more than 200 elephants by poisoning, Zimbabweâs National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, an elephant crosses the road in Hwange National Park, about 700 kilometres south west of Harare. Fourteen elephants were poisoned by cyanide in Zimbabwe in three separate incidents, two years after poachers killed more than 200 elephants by poisoning, Zimbabweâs National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
FLIE - In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, an elephant crosses the road in Hwange National Park, about 700 kilometers south west of Harare, Zimbabwe. Cyanide poisoning has killed 22 elephants in Zimbabweâs Hwange National Park, the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said on Monday Oct. 26, 2015. This brings to 62 the number of elephants poisoned by poachers in this southern Africa country in October. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)
In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 photo, a game ranger walks by a rotting elephant carcass, in Hwange National Park , Zimbabwe. The stench of rotting elephant carcasses hangs in the air in northwestern Zimbabwe where wildlife officials say at least 91 animals have been poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hack off the tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. Wildlife officials now say at least 91 animals have been poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hack off the tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. Officials say cyanide used in gold mining was spread by poachers over the flat salt pans around water holes. (AP Photo)
In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 photo, workers look at a rotting elephant carcass, in Hwange National Park , Zimbabwe. The stench of rotting elephant carcasses hangs in the air in northwestern Zimbabwe where wildlife officials say at least 91 animals have been poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hack off the tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. Wildlife officials now say at least 91 animals have been poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hack off the tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. Officials say cyanide used in gold mining was spread by poachers over the flat salt pans around water holes. (AP Photo)
In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 photo, rotting elephant carcasses in Hwange National Park , Zimbabwe. The stench of rotting elephant carcasses hangs in the air in northwestern Zimbabwe where wildlife officials say at least 91 animals have been poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hack off the tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. Wildlife officials now say at least 91 animals have been poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hack off the tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. Officials say cyanide used in gold mining was spread by poachers over the flat salt pans around water holes. (AP Photo)
In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 photo, rotting elephant carcasses in Hwange National Park , Zimbabwe. The stench of rotting elephant carcasses hangs in the air in northwestern Zimbabwe where wildlife officials say at least 91 animals have been poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hack off the tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. Wildlife officials now say at least 91 animals have been poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hack off the tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. Officials say cyanide used in gold mining was spread by poachers over the flat salt pans around water holes. (AP Photo)
FILE This Sept. 29, 2013 file photo shows rotting elephant carcasses in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, wildlife officials said animals were poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hack off the tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. Political and military elites are seizing protected areas in one of Africaâs last bastions for elephants, putting broad swaths of Zimbabwe at risk of becoming fronts for ivory poaching, according to a nonprofit research groupâs report that examines government collusion in wildlife trafficking. (AP Photo, File)
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