Zimbabwe elephant sanctuary under threat

AP News
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Posted: Sep 02, 2011 7:23 AM
Zimbabwe elephant sanctuary under threat

An independent conservation group says a new influx of settlers at a nature preserve in southeastern Zimbabwe is destroying the sanctuary of at least 70 elephants.

Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said Friday that settlers have moved into parts of the Chiredzi River conservancy that had survived damage over years of encroachment and land seizures.

Rodrigues says the arid region is unsuitable for farming but according to witness accounts settlers have cut down trees and burnt bushland. At least two elephants have died in snare traps and another has a trap embedded in its flesh.

He says no action has been taken to remove the settlers from a designated protected wildlife area.