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3 Poachers Jailed for Killing 81 Elephants With Cyanide

A herd of African elephants is pictured on Nov. 17, 2012, in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. (AP)
A Zimbabwe court on Wednesday sentenced three poachers to at least 15 years in prison each for poisoning and killing 81 elephants, state radio reported.

According to the national broadcaster, a provincial magistrate sentenced 25-year-old Diyane Tshuma to 16 years in prison for poisoning elephants with cyanide in Hwange National Park.

His co-accused Robert Maphosa and Thabani Zondo were each sentenced to 15 years.
Tshuma was ordered to pay $600,000 to the Zimbabwe Wildlife and Parks Authority for killing the animals, while Zondo must pay $200,000 by the end of the year.

Elephant's tusks are highly sought after for Asia's ivory trade.

The three were among nine people arrested on suspicion of poisoning watering holes in the game park.

There are more than 120,000 elephants living in Zimbabwe's national parks.