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Sep 26, 2013 3:53 PM by AP (PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE)

ZIMBABWE: 16 YEARS JAIL FOR POISONING ELEPHANTS

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwean court officials say three poachers convicted of the cyanide poisoning of water holes that killed 81 elephants in a northwestern nature park to collect ivory have been sentenced to up to 16 years in jail.

Officials in the court in Hwange, 750 kilometers (470 miles) west of Harare, said Thursday the men were found guilty under anti-poaching laws and for illegal possession of 17 elephant tusks.

Another five suspects were ordered to be held in custody until their Oct. 4 trial.

Wildlife authorities say 81 elephant carcasses were found in the remote Hwange National Park in the past month. Officials said it was not clear where the other tusks were hidden or whether they had already been smuggled out of Zimbabwe to lucrative illegal ivory markets in Asia.

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