Twenty-two dead elephants were discovered Oct. 26 in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, many with their heads hacked off. It appears the elephants died from cyanide poisoning--possibly administered by disgruntled park rangers. Wildlife officials are currently investigating.
If it is determined that any rangers killed the elephants, they should immediately lose their jobs and face criminal charges, and lengthy, mandatory imprisonment upon conviction. It is absolutely unbelievable and totally unacceptable that people charged with protecting the elephants would kill them.
Evidently the rangers are angry about being paid late, not being reimbursed for some of their costs and not receiving the same allowances for their children's educations that senior park officials do. But there are many other ways these rangers could express their dissatisfaction outside of killing the elephants.
The cyanide, believed to have been obtained from illegal gold mining, was hidden in salt licks, oranges and water holes. The poison is also affecting other animals that use the water holes and salt licks and feed on the elephant carcasses.
This brings to about 62 the number of elephants killed in Zimbabwe during the past month, almost half of which died in Hwange Park. Although some will blame ivory poaching for this horrific slaughter, the 22 elephants just found included babies too young to grow tusks.
Please sign this petition telling Zimbabwe officials to do everything they can to protect their elephants and punish these rangers if they are found guilty.
Dear Zimbabe officials,
We are shocked and saddened by the discovery of more dead elephants in Hwange National Park on Oct. 26. Even more horrifying is the possibility that unhappy park rangers poisoned them. If any rangers are implicated in this crime, we ask that they immediately lose their jobs and face criminal charges, with mandatory, lengthy imprisonment upon conviction. Please do everything within your power to protect the magnificent elephants, one of your country's most precious natural resources.