Zimbabwe police fear hundreds of animals could be killed after at least 41 elephants poisoned

Police in Zimbabwe fear hundreds of animals may have been killed after poachers allegedly poisoned at least 41 elephants inside a national park.

Detectives say the six poachers, who were arrested on Aug. 24, added cyanide to pools of water in the Hwange National Park that the elephants drank from, Sky News reports.

Police have recovered 17 elephant tusks valued around $120,000, but suspect that more poisoned elephant carcasses may not have been discovered yet inside the 5,657-square-mile park, according to The Chronicle.

"We have what we call the fourth generation effect due to the potency of cyanide as a poison,” said Muyambirwa Muzzah, chief inspector with the Tsholotsho police. “Animals that feed on the dead elephants will die and those that feed on the dead animals will also die.”

"It will go back on the food chain and hundreds of animals may end up dead," Muzzah added.

Park officials and Zimbabwe’s Environmental Management Agency are currently working to assess the impact of the cyanide poisoning, The Chronicle reports.

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