Two weeks earlier, Dave and I were exploring a new track through the forest and savanna in the heart of Vera Plaines. We had stopped for lunch on a hilltop with sweeping views of forests, valleys, and savannas on all sides. As we were gathering our gear, I noticed a speck of white at the edge of forest at least a kilometer off to the East. A white very much out of place in this landscape of green and laterite red. My curiosity piqued, we started off on a march across the rolling savanna, skirting the edge of a forest gallery, and, as we approached, I could see we had stumbled across the remains of an elephant.
A closer examination revealed a stomach full of ozouga pits, and judging the degree of decay, we were able to determine the elephant had likely died in October or November of 2012 when the ozouga trees were dropping fruits. Remnants of a fire-ring and assorted plastic sheeting seemed to indicate there was human involvement at or soon after the death of this elephant. The tusks had been forcibly removed, one broken at the root, and the other cut out with what appeared to be a machete. This would not have been necessary on a carcass discovered naturally in the field, for the tusks would soon loosen and slip easily from their sockets as the animal began the process of decay. Suspicious circumstances suggest this elephant was likely killed by the hand of man.