Zim man gets 15 years for poisoning elephants
17 October 2013, 13:15
Harare - A Zimbabwe court on Wednesday sentenced a poacher
to more than 15 years in prison for poisoning and killing elephants with
cyanide, the fourth such conviction in the country in a month.
The court in the western town of Hwange also found Akim
Masuku, 26, guilty of illegal possession of ivory, handing down a total jail
term of 15-and-a-half years, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority said in
The accused still faces separate charges for cyanide
possession and for contravening environmental laws, wildlife officials said.
The case comes a day after the Parks and Wildlife Authority
said 100 elephants had been killed by cyanide for their ivory in a single
national park in just over a month.
"One hundred elephants have died in Hwange National
Park due to cyanide poisoning and 12 people have since been arrested and four
have been convicted and sentenced," it said.
Masuku's co-accused Norma Ncube, 18, is set to appear in
court on 30 October.
Three other poachers were in September sentenced to a
minimum of 15 years each for poisoning 81 elephants.
They were also ordered to pay $600 000 to the wildlife
authority for killing the animals.
Officials have given villagers living around the park until
the end of October to hand over any cyanide they might have or risk arrest.
There are more than 120 000 elephants roaming Zimbabwe's
poorly policed national parks.
Elephant tusks and other body parts are highly prized in Asia
and the Middle East for ornaments, as talismans and for use in traditional