By Agence France-Presse
Friday, September 20, 2013 14:15 EDT

Zimbabwean wildlife authorities will dispatch a team of experts to the country’s largest game park Saturday to investigate the poisoning deaths of 64 elephants, an official said.

“Experts drawn from seven ministries will travel to Hwange National Park tomorrow (Saturday) to make findings on the disaster at the park where 64 elephants have died from cyanide poisoning,” the director general of the parks and wildlife authority,
 
'There are fears that there could be more deaths but we need chemists to determine whether the danger is still there.' Edson Chidziya, said.

The elephants reportedly died in separate incidents after drinking poisoned water. The state-owned Herald newspaper gave the number of elephants killed as 69.

Nine people were arrested on suspicion of poisoning watering halls in the game park to kill the elephants for their tusks and were due to appear in court in Tsholotsho.

Chidziya dismissed reports linking the poachers to a South African businessman.
“We just heard about those reports but from our side we don’t know about that link yet,” he said.
Two years ago nine elephants, five lions and two buffalo died from cyanide poisoning in Hwange national park.

Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere has called for stiff penalties for poachers.

Sumatran elephants found dead, poisoning suspected

Two critically endangered Sumatran elephants were found dead in an Indonesian national park and it is believed they were poisoned, the WWF environmental group said Monday.

It takes to three the number of the elephants found dead in Tesso Nilo National Park on in the last month.

The carcasses of a male aged around five and a young female were found on Friday about a kilometre (0.6 miles) apart, said WWF spokeswoman Syamsidar, who goes by one name.

'We believe that the elephants were poisoned as the carcasses were quite close to each other,' she said, adding that autopsies needed to be conducted before the cause of death could be confirmed.
A Sumatran elephant was discovered dead in the park early last month, also from suspected poisoning, she added.

Fifteen Sumatran elephants were found dead last year in Riau province, where the national park is located, with around half them found to have been poisoned, Syamsidar said.

Fewer than 3,000 Sumatran elephants remain in the wild, according to the International Union for .

Rampant expansion of and paper plantations and the mining industry have destroyed nearly 70 percent of the elephant's over 25 years, according to the WWF, and the animals have been targeted by poachers.

In January 14 were found dead of suspected poisoning in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Three-month-old orphaned calf Joe made headlines around the world when he was pictured trying to rouse his dead mother.