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Zimbabwe Poachers Turn To Poisoning Water Holes

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In this Dec. 20, 2010 file photo a rhino walks its natural environment in the Bubi area about 500 kilometres south of Harare, Zimbabwe. Poachers are using aircraft to hunt and kill rhinoceros, Zimbabwe's wildlife chief said Tuesday Jan 25, 2011 as demand in Asia for their horns' supposed medicinal benefits grows. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File) | AP

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe's wildlife authority says poachers have begun poisoning watering holes, killing nine elephants and at least five lions in recent weeks.

Spokeswoman Caroline Washaya-Moyo of Zimbabwe's wildlife department says elephants' ivory tusks were removed but lions' heads and skins were left intact.

She says the lions appeared to be accidental victims of the poisoning. She told the Associated Press on Monday the new incidents were the first on record.

She says buffalo were also killed, as were vultures that preyed on the dead animals.

She says tests were being done to determine the nature of the chemicals that could kill creatures as large as elephants, which can eat hundreds of pounds (kilograms) of vegetation each day.

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