Solomon Manjoro and companion Noluck Tafuruka entered Zimbabwe’s Charara National Park armed with rifles late last month, in what officials suspect was a poaching trip. Their target was the African elephant, which has always provided a lucrative trade for poachers trafficking in ivory. African elephants are under some degree of protection in every country where they are found, but wildlife officials are struggling to defend their large ranges from opportunistic poachers.
According to The Telegraph, the pair managed to approach a male elephant inside the game reserve section of the park, where Manjoro fired off a shot. Due to bad aim, the shot only caused the large mammal to take notice of the two men and it proceeded to chase them down. Manjoro was outdistanced by the animal and fatally trampled. A short while later Tafuruka was arrested by park rangers, who recovered Manjoro’s body. Another man, Godfrey Shonge, was also arrested in connection with the attempted poaching and the two men will be facing several charges including illegal firearm possession and violation of wildlife laws.
Poaching in Africa’s national parks has increased over recent years due to a spike in the demand for ivory. The Elephant Advocacy League estimates that about 40,000 elephants are killed annually. Experts believe that number equates to a 10 percent decline in the overall population every year. On the black market one pound of raw ivory can be worth anywhere between $270 to several thousand, depending on the quality and location.