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Elephant kills poacher for HIS ivory

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 17th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

An African elephant has killed one poacher and injured his hunting partner in a rampage at Zimbabwe's Charara National Park.

HARARE, ZIMBABWE (Catholic Online) - Poaching is a serious problem in this country as the population of elephants has fallen dramatically over the past decade. Poachers are killing thousands of elephants each year just for their ivory which sells for great prices in China.

Last month, two poachers messed with a bull elephant and got its horns - or rather tusks. After shooting the beast, the angry elephant went on a rampage and trampled Solomon Monjoro, whose corpse was found jellied into the bushes. His poaching partner, the appropriately named Noluck Tafuruka, was arrested soon afterwards along with another associate in Harare.

Currently, ivory sells for about $600 per pound in China where elephant tusks are regarded as a status symbol. As the Chinese middle class grows in affluence, the demand for the tusks has skyrocketed. This demand has poachers scrambling to fill orders from suppliers.

Poachers sneak into national parks which are quite expansive in Africa and can lack sufficient security. Armed with machine guns, they can gun down entire herds within hours and make off with hundreds of tusks.

Park officials are often outgunned and can do little to stop poaching as it occurs. The best officials seem to be able to do is catch smugglers as they try to take the ivory out of the country.

Locals say the poaching has brought about changes in the way the elephants behave. Many herds now stay hidden and become active only at night, whereas previously they were active in the open and during the day.

Elephants are very intelligent and have complex emotions and seem to be able to understand what is happening. They bond tightly with their young and will defend themselves if they are able. However, there is very little even a powerful herd of elephants can do against a range of military-grade assault weapons.

African elephant populations are now down to 450,000 or so, from an all-time high of over 3 million just a century ago.

Still, elephants can occasionally exact retribution from small-time poachers who have little defense if their shots miss, or if fail to bring down their target right away.

This time, it's Solomon Monjoro who lost his ivory, and nobody in Zimbabwe seems to be heartbroken over that.

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