This poisoning incident may indicate disturbing new trend for poachers in the park.
Poachers in South Africa’s Kruger National Park took an elephant poaching a step farther when they also poisoned the left-behind carcass, killing two lions, two jackals and 110 vultures after the fact.
“It seems poachers have resorted to wildlife poisoning in the national parks and other protected areas in Southern Africa,” said Kruger National Park’s managing executive Glenn Phillips.
The poachers shot the elephant in the head and removed its tusks, likely for sale in Asia where tusks are in high demand. But in a move that has wildlife authorities looking for answers, the poachers also decided to poison the elephant’s carcass before they left. The elephant and the poisoning victims were discovered by rangers over the weekend.
Unfortunately, Krueger National Park has seen poisoning incidents before. Last year, the park saw deaths of an elephant, four lions and 46 vultures from poisoning in the park.
A possible motive to the incident may be because of a demand for vultures by healers in South Africa according to Sowetan Live. The good news is that poisoning isn’t nearly as rampant in Kruger as it is in neighboring countries.
Poachers have taken out 370 elephants with poison in the last two years in neighboring Zimbabwe, but it’s unlikely to make rangers in Kruger comfortable as they are already busy combating poachers who are targeting rhino extensively in the park.