As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Poisoned elephant carcass kills 94 critically endangered vultures in Zimbabwe

4 Jul 2017

By Obaka Torto and Jude Fuhnwi

Ninety four critically endangered White Backed vultures have been reported dead after feeding on a poisoned elephant carcass recently in Zimbabwe. The incident occurred in Gonarezhou, a small locality near the town of Chiqualaquala, an area which has become a hub for illegal wildlife trade along the country’s border with Mozambique.

It is unclear how the elephants were poisoned, but a wildlife poisoning and mortality report from Frankfurt Zoological Society experts indicated that the elephant was killed by a watermelon laced with what is suspected to be Temik, a carbamate pesticide. Experts are analyzing samples in a laboratory to determine the poison.

“The tusks of the elephant were removed, so not sure whether the cause is accidental, secondary poisoning or deliberate lacing of carcass to cause vulture deaths,” according to the report.

Conservationists working at the Gonarezhou National Park have said the motive for poisoning is likely to be ivory as only the elephant’s tusks were missing at the time the carcass was discovered, whereas all body parts of the vultures were intact. However, vultures are also deliberately poisoned by elephant poachers to avoid detection by wildlife authorities because of vulture circling behaviour and could perhaps be an additional motivation to poison vultures.


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