By Nokuthaba Dlamini
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) has arrested 629 wildlife poachers over the last eight months, with the most targeted species being elephants and pangolins.
ZimParks national spokesperson Tinashe Farawo told CITE that most of the poaching activities were recorded at Hwange National Park, the country’s largest game reserve.
Farawo said they have also managed to recover 10 rifles, 110 live ammunitions, 39 pieces of ivory and 17 pieces of rhino horns.
Apart from Hwange National Park, the poachers also target other game reserves in other clusters like Matopo National Park and Masvingo.
To mitigate the rise in poaching cases, Farawo said they have resorted to using drones to trace the poachers.
“We have managed to secure some high technology drones that we use to surveillance these poachers and the results are extremely exciting,” he said.
“To prevent the spread of Covid-19, our rangers no longer need to be spending weeks in the bush tracking for these poachers as we already have a number of them, some purchased by us while others were donated by China. We just the rangers to those areas where we notice poachers in the park before they could make any move.”
Bhejane Trust founder Trevor Lane said with the Covid-19 pandemic which is causing poverty and desperation, poaching cases were on the rise and urgent intervention was needed.
“We have experienced a huge increase in poaching, and there is urgent need for more patrolling plus support from the judiciary,” Lane said.
Last week, a poacher from Madumabisa Village in Hwange was caught red-handed at a local ranch with 6 kudu carcasses and 51 snares.
Patrick Dube, was slapped with a ten-month jail sentence, which according to Lane was abortion of justice.
“The state value of the kudu (single) is USD14 000, and the land owner is pursuing a civil case against the poachers for compensation as means of ensuring full justice is carried out,” Lane said.
“He received 10 months in jail, which is getting off very lightly.”