In 2013, it was reported that poachers in Zimbabwe used cyanide to kill elephants at a nature reserve. Original estimates by wildlife officials found stated that around 100 elephants died from the poison. After further analysis, the number of elephants killed by cyanide has increased to over 300. Conservation officials state that it is the worst massacre of elephants in Southern African in 25 years.
The poachers killed the elephants by lacking water holes and salt licks with cyanide. Once the elephants die, the poachers cut of their ivory tusks. The poachers are able to sell the tusks for $482 (4,750 South African Rand) to cross-border traders in Zimbabwe. The tusks are then smuggled to South Africa, where it can be resold for up to $1,604 (15,800 Rand).
Source: Daily Telegraph, “Poachers kill 300 Zim elephants with cyanide,” Times Live, October 21, 2013.