Poachers use poison to kill elephants for their ivory
Tanzania's wildlife authorities have arrested four suspects for poisoning a range of wild animals in a game reserve located near Arusha.
The suspected poachers were apprehended by a unit of Tanzania's anti-poaching squad while on routine patrols between 16 and 26 January. The suspects were all carrying poison and specialised arrows, and were found in various locations within the Enduimet Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Located in the West Kilimanjaro Basin of Longido district, the area borders Kilimanjaro National Park to the south-east, and the Tanzania-Kenya border to the north.
The manager of the anti-poaching operation Charles Bujiku said he believed the suspects used poisoned spears to kill wild animals, mainly elephants. Bujiku said that the poison used can kill elephants within 20 minutes and that it also causes the elephant's body to decompose in just a few hours, making it easier for poachers to remove the tusks.
Locals say that poachers are also known to leave poisoned watermelons and pumpkins for the elephants to eat.
Scientists believe that the poachers are using Aldicarb which is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as among the most highly-restricted chemicals in the world.
Separately, for the first time, six tons of confiscated ivory were destroyed in China which accounts for over 70 per cent of the world's demand for ivory.
China's new official stance has been hailed by conservationists as a significant step in fighting the illegal trade, and has prompted Hong Kong to incinerate its 28 tons of contraband ivory over the next two years.