A suspected poacher illegally hunting African elephants was trampled to death by his prey in Charara National Park near Lake Kariba in northwestern Zimbabwe, the country's state-controlled Sunday Mail reported. Authorities said Manjoro and his accomplice, Noluck Tafuruka, 29, went into the park looking for elephants when one of the animals apparently attacked.

The remains of Solomon Manjoro were found by rangers. Tafuruka and another man, Godfrey Shonge, 52, were reportedly arrested in connection with the incident. The magistrate was told Manjoro and Tafuruka had entered the National Park with the sole intention of poaching.

An international ban on the ivory trade was established in 1989, but poachers still strip elephants of their ivory tusks. The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates that some 25,000 African elephants are killed each year.

The death toll spiked again last week, when, amid political chaos, poachers fired on forest elephants inside the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, a World Heritage Site in the Central African Republic, as reported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Following the retreat of poachers on May 8, ecoguards explored Dzanga Bai, a large clearing where it is known anywhere from 50 to 200 elephants gather at any given time for the mineral salts. The ecoguards found more than 26 elephant carcasses: 20 adults and four youngsters in the clearing itself and two in the river nearby. All their tusks had been hacked off.

The group of 17 heavily armed poachers presented themselves as members of the transitional Séléka government but they were of Sudanese origin, alleged the WWF. Séléka, which means "union" in the local Sango language, ousted former Central African Republic President François Bozizé in March. An alliance of seven opposition groups, the Séléka government has failed to bring peace to the country.

Ecoguards continue to explore for additional damage, possibly including other elephant carcasses in the surrounding forest and smaller clearings. It is reported that at least one of the camps in the park has been ransacked.

Incidents of elephant poaching have been on the rise in recent years, driven by increased demand for ivory. Sold on the black market, ivory is often smuggled to Asian countries including China, where it is used for ornaments and jewelry. Since 2010, poachers had sought the Dzanga Bai elephant clearing, but conservationists had managed to prevent them from reaching it.

Located in southwestern quadrant of Central African Republic, the Dzanga-Sangha reserve (which includes the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park) is part of the Sangha River Tri-National Protected Area, which includes Nouabalé Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and Lobéké National Park in Cameroon. Dzanga-Sangha is home to rare western lowland gorillas and more than 1,000 forest elephants.

The remoteness of the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park as well as support from WWF and the Wildlife Conservation Society's ecoguards have helped protect it from major poaching incidents. For nearly 25 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also has supported efforts in the park, including funding research on the forest elephants that use Dzanga Bai.

In addition to the Séléka-dominated government failing to establish control, many fighters report to no one, and many splinter groups refer to themselves as Séléka when they may not be part of the "official" alliance. According to reports, each of the seven members of the alliance has its own chief of staff and armed fighters.

In late April, the UN Security Council issued a statement expressing strong concern about the worsening humanitarian and security situation and the weakening of institutions there. Elephant poaching, horrendous in and of itself, appears to be symptomatic of even greater human concerns.