An elephant in Zimbabwe reportedly trampled a poacher who was attempting to kill the wild animal.
Solomon Manjoro, a suspected poacher, was trampled to death by an elephant in Charara National Park in Gatshe-Gatshe, Kariba, according to the state-run Zimbabwe newspaper The Sunday Mail. Manjoro and his friend Noluck Tafuruka are said to have visited the park between April 19 and 26, armed with two rifles, for the purpose of hunting. The deceased poacher is thought to have tried to shoot the elephant before he was trampled.
Manjoro's remains were found after Tafuruka was arrested on charges of possessing firearms without a license, The Sunday Mail reports. A third man linked to the poaching incident was also arrested.
Although it is unclear how common elephant trampling is, TreeHugger notes that elephants may be purposefully striking back at the threat of poachers: "Perhaps as more of the animals have lost family members to poaching, they've grown more aggressive to those appearing to be a similar threat."
“The conservation gains made for African elephants, one of the most iconic African species, are being seriously jeopardized by poaching to fuel the demand for ivory," Matthew Lewis an African species expert, told the World Wildlife Fund.
Protected sanctuaries and national parks don't stop poachers, either. On May 6, at least 26 elephants were killed when poachers armed with rifles stormed the protected Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in the Central African Republic. All had their tusks removed.
A ban enacted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1990 was effective in toppling the ivory trade, The New York Times notes, but that ban only lasted until 1999 when Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia were permitted to sell 50 tons of stockpiled ivory to Japan. Another sale went through in 2008 and killings soared.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the number of elephants killed each year. About 40,000 are slaughtered each year, according to the Elephant Advocacy League.