A mob of poachers entered the Mago National Park in Ethiopia on Monday 1 June and carried out a mass killing of six elephants, removing the tusks from each of them.

Mago National Park’s chief warden, Ganabul Bulmi, told Associated Press:

‘It was a mass killing. We haven’t seen anything like this before.’

The deceased elephants were all from the same family herd and were attacked while drinking from the Omo river, reports the BBC.

Bulmi explained that over 30 bullets were used to take down one of the elephants:

‘It has also proved difficult to apprehend the perpetrators because the locals who live in the area are armed and were not willing to engage officials’

Director for trafficking and control at the Wildlife Conservation Authority Daniel Pawlos explained that Ethiopia rarely experiences poaching:

‘Last year we documented up to 10 elephant killings. But whenever there’s demand, that triggers illegal poaching.’

The chilling difference with this incident and the usual occurrences across Africa, is the number of elephants that were killed at once. This is a devastating loss for Ethiopia, and perhaps the first instance of a Covid-19 ripple effect.