The bodies were among a herd of 22 animals massacred in a helicopter-borne attack by professionals who swooped over their quarry.
The scene beneath the rotor blades would have been chilling – panicked mothers shielding their young, hair-raising screeches and a mad scramble through the blood-stained bush as bullets rained down from the sky.
When the shooting was over, all of the herd lay dead, one of the worst such killings in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo in living memory.
“It’s been a long time since weve seen something like this,” said Dr Tshibasu Muamba, head of international cooperation for the Congolese state conservation agency, ICCN, as he surveyed the macarbre scene at Garamba National Park.
After the slaughter, the killers set about removing their tusks and genitals before likely smuggling them through South Sudan or Uganda, which form part of an Ivory Road linking Africa to Asia.
Elephant and rhino poaching is surging, conservationists say, an illegal piece of Asias scramble for African resources, driven by the growing purchasing power of the regions newly affluent classes.