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

Poachers Killed Half Mozambique's Elephants in Five Years
Poachers Killed Half Mozambique's Elephants in Five Years

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:

More from
13-year-old girl dies from bacterial infection linked to tampons after doctors misdiagnose her
Little girl just wants parents to get along in adorable viral video
92-year-old man sings sweet love song to dying wife