TWO men were yesterday arrested for poisoning 11 elephants in the Hwange National Park with cyanide before dehorning them last week.
The poisoning of the animals also led to the death of eight vultures.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority public relations manager Caroline Washaya-Moyo yesterday confirmed the arrest of Normal Ncube and Ackim Masuku.
“The elephants were killed last week, but the suspects were arrested today (yesterday),” Washaya-Moyo said.
“The police recovered certain pieces of ivory. Six of the tusks were found on the side of a railway line that passes through the game park.
“Seven tusks were found on the scene of the crime where the elephants died.”
Police in Matabeleland North yesterday said they were yet to get information on the matter.
Meanwhile, Chief Siphoso of Tsholotsho, who set up a committee to collect cyanide from villagers in the area, yesterday said there had not been any response to his calls.
“No one is forthcoming so far, nothing has been surrendered yet,” he said.
The traditional leader held a meeting at the weekend to plead with villagers to surrender cyanide to his committee that asked a ministerial task force two weeks ago to let them collect the poison.
A member of the committee, John Vumile Dube, told the ministerial taskforce that they had convinced villagers to surrender cyanide to the chief’s committee in return for immunity.
Dube pleaded with the police not to arrest the villagers saying it would cause panic resulting in some villagers not surrendering the poison.
The ministerial taskforce led by Environment Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere then gave the villagers up to the end of this month to surrender cyanide to the committee or face arrest.
More than 100 elephants have already been killed through poisoning by poachers in the Hwange National Park.