Officials have confirmed 91 dead elephants from cyanide poisoning by poachers

 

HWANGE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- The stench of rotting elephant carcasses hangs in the air in western Zimbabwe where wildlife officials say at least 91 elephants were poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hack off the tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market.

Massive bones, some already bleached by the blistering sun in the Hwange National Park, litter the landscape around one remote watering hole where 18 carcasses were found.

Officials say cyanide used in gold mining was spread by poachers over the flat "salt pans," or salt licks, around water holes. They say other species have died from feeding on carcasses or drinking nearby.

"The magnitude of what we are witnessing today is much higher that what has occurred previously," environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere told reporters on a trip to the park Monday.

 
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