An elephant has survived being shot in the head by suspected poachers in Zimbabwe.

It was found by vets in Mana Pools national park and is believed to have had the bullet lodged in its head for up to six weeks.

The male elephant, nicknamed Pretty Boy, is believed to be about 25 years old and is the latest casualty of poachers supplying the ivory trade.

"We think it was shot outside the park and came inside for refuge," Dr Lisa Marabini told the BBC.


The elephant showed no signs of aggression and appeared to have approached the vets. "It's like it knew we were there with the intention of helping it," she added.

Had the bullet been fired a few centimetres lower it would have entered the elephant's brain. The animal also suffered a wound to the shoulder.

"We suspect it was shot in the head first, then turned to flee and the poacher put a bullet in its side."

Elephant-poaching is widespread in Africa and earlier this year a British campaigner was killed trying to track down offenders.

Roger Gower's helicopter was brought down in Tanzania by poachers using an AK47 assault weapon.