Seven men, believed to be part of two gangs that recently poisoned elephants with cyanide in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park have been arrested, a local conservation group said on Tuesday.

Four of the men appeared in court in Hwange town on Monday and one of them has already been handed a 10-year jail term, said the Bhejane Trust.

It said the four, who are from the town of Dete near Hwange “have been involved in a poaching syndicate using weapons and cyanide”.

“The speed at which these poachers appeared in court shows how seriously the authorities are taking the poaching issue in this part of Zimbabwe,” the group said.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

The other arrested men are due in court soon.

60 Elephants have been found dead from cyanide poisoning

Around 60 elephants have been found dead from cyanide poisoning in and around Hwange since September. The Zimbabwe government said earlier this month it would send soldiers to national parks to help game rangers combat the scourge.

Trevor Lane, of the Bhejane Trust told News24 in a phone interview on Tuesday that two other arrested suspects were from Tsholotsho, a district on the southern border of Hwange National Park.

“Two of them from Tsholotsho also had ivory, so they’ll get their nine or ten years [in jail],” he said. Another arrested suspect is believed to be an ivory buyer from the second city of Bulawayo, he added.

Villagers from Tsholotsho were believed to be involved in a wave of cyanide poisonings in 2013 that killed around 200 elephants.

Unconfirmed reports say that a pack of nine endangered wild dogs was recently found dead from suspected cyanide poisoning at a water hole in Mana Pools, a popular national park on the banks of the Zambezi River around 650km from Hwange.

Accommodation offers from

20,000 listings in 2,000 locations with 10,000 reviews.

18% DISCOUNT – From R1222 p/night

Hudsons on Twelfth

Rivonia, Gauteng

Valid until April 30 2020

66% DISCOUNT – From R1440 R518 p/night

Silver Forest Boutique Lodge and Spa

Helderberg, Somerset West

For stays between 1 Jul & 30 Sep 2020

35% DISCOUNT – From R1524 p/night

The Atrium 30

Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Valid until April 30 2020