A close call!
Not only do poachers use automatic weapons and high powered rifles to kill elephants for the illegal ivory trade, they also use traditional methods such as poison arrows and spears. Once an elephant is shot with a poison laced arrow, the poachers track it until it dies from the poison. This process can take several hours up to multiple days.
A common East African shrub called the Acokanthera spp. (Common poison bush, arrow-poison tree (En). Msunguti, msungu (Sw).), is one of many readily available plants used in producing deadly poisons. The Acokanthera spp. toxins have deadly effects and there is no antidote available for humans or animals.
On September 18, 2011 the FCF anti-poaching Rapid Action Team 3 went on a night patrol in the Tei/Mwajilinga-Kimali area of Tanzania. They saw spotlights and started tracking poachers through the dense brush. As the FCF anti-poaching team neared, the poachers started shooting poison arrows and one arrow hit Mawazo Ichimba, an FCF anti-poaching ranger.
As always, FCF would like to thank our rangers for being so dedicated. It is this dedication that enables FCF to accomplish such important conservation work in the bush.