Two lions, more than 100 vultures and 2 jackals have been reported dead in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The animals met their unfortunate death after feasting on the poisoned carcass of an elephant which might be a new poaching trend in the heavily-guarded animal reserve.
“It seems poachers have resorted to wildlife poisoning in the national parks and other protected areas in Southern Africa,” the park’s managing executive, Glenn Phillips said in a statement.
The dead bodies of the animals were discovered by rangers during the weekend with no clear idea of when the poisoning occurred.
Earlier investigations carried out on the animal carcasses showed that the elephant was shot in the head, its tusks were removed and the carcass was laced with poison. As a result, two lions, 110 vultures and two jackals died after feeding on the poisoned carcass of the elephant.
The South Africa Kruger National Park authorities are still confused as to what the poachers’ ultimate target was.
There is a high demand for tusks and horns in eastern Asian countries where they are smuggled to and sold at very high prices.
Kruger National Park spokesman William Mabasa also revealed that vultures are in demand by traditional healers popularly known as sangomas in South Africa.
Wildlife poisoning does not happen often in South Africa compared to neighboring countries Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Zimbabwe has recorded the death of more than 370 elephants as a result of poisoning over the past two years, with the deaths blamed on poachers.
The Kruger National Park has been experiencing a poaching crisis targeting rhino despite being one of the most heavily guarded parks in the country. Rangers in the park are equipped with infrared binoculars to help locate poachers who normally operate at night.
Last year, the Krugar National Park lost an elephant, four African lions and 46 vultures from poisoning.