Just as the world continued to mourn the horrible death of Cecil the 13-year-old lion hunted and killed by an American dentist in Zimbabwe, more devastation shook the world as poachers quietly trespassed into the Tsavo West National Park on Monday night and killed five elephants, reports the Washington Post.
The park is the main elephant sanctuary and home to 11,000 pachyderms. The elephants killed, referred to as giant tuskers, are a rare breed only found in Kenya. It is estimated poachers are killing as many as 5,000 elephants a year in a total population of 38,000 surviving elephants
The tusks of one female and four of her offspring had been hacked off. Little attention has been given to this egregious deed as investigators from Kenya Wildlife Service search for more suspects. Prices for the sale of ivory from the elephant tusks in Asia, exceeds $1,000 per pound. Investigators from Kenya said the poachers came over from Tanzania and quickly crossed the borders back to their country on motorcycles once they killed the elephants. Two suspects are now being held and are suspected to be part of a larger gang who operate at the Tanzania-Kenya border assisted by some local Kenyans. Authorities recovered a blood-stained axe, sandals and a hacksaw in the area where the two men were arrested.
According to the Big Life Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Africa’s wildlife and ecosystems, the investigation continues. According to the Capital, Police continue to intensify the manhunt for elephant poaching which has drawn interest of Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o who unveiled a new initiative in Nairobi recently.
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