(Graphic) Elephants Beheaded At Cecil The Lion’s Park
Twenty-three elephants in Zimbabwe’s Hwange national park, which is also home to Cecil the Lion, were killed by cyanide by suspected poachers. Some of these elephants were savagely beheaded. However, unnamed sources were telling that the park’s own rangers were responsible for the killing.Advertisement
The massacre of the gentle giants had been ongoing since September, according to Reuters. With the recent case of cyanide poisoning, the death toll was raised to 60, according to park officials. Curiously, the Hwange national park currently has 53,000 elephants – a number twice the park’s carrying capacity, Reuters noted. Photos obtained by Reuters showed distressing scenes where bodies of elephants lay scattered on the ground, their heads dismembered from their bodies (photo below).
The elephants were being massacred by underpaid park rangers reportedly protesting against the park’s management, according to park insiders who have spoken on condition of anonymity with The Telegraph. Apparently, Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Authority are not being funded by the local government and only survive from payments received from tourists and hunters, The Telegraph has learned. The park’s income was gravely affected since the U.S. prohibited import of elephant and other animals killed from trophy hunting in 2014.
An unnamed source said the massacre of the gentle giants were two-pronged: unpaid rangers resorted to poaching to earn and rangers simply protesting their being underpaid. “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. But they know that management in Harare do get these allowances, such as help with school fees for their kids,” the source revealed.
This information was seconded by Headman Sibanda, a well-known hunter in the park. The rangers were “angry because of lack of allowances. Some of them believe they should be getting allowances and they are not, but some senior management are getting allowances unfairly,” Sibanda told The Telegraph.