ZimParks de­clares war on poach­ers

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Se­nior Re­porter

AT LEAST seven poach­ers have been shot dead in armed con­fronta­tion with Zim­babwe Na­tional Parks and Wildlife Author­ity (ZimParks) rangers since the be­gin­ning of the year as the crack­down on il­le­gal hunt­ing in­ten­si­fies.

This year alone, 416 peo­ple have been ar­rested for poach­ing while 92 sus­pected il­le­gal hunters es­caped ar­rest.

The lat­est ar­rests took place in Harare last week when a Zim­babwe Na­tional Army of­fi­cer was found with an ele­phant tusk af­ter fall­ing into a trap set by Parks of­fi­cials and the po­lice. Dur­ing the same week, eight peo­ple were ar­rested in poach­ing-re­lated crimes, in­clud­ing a man who was found with a live pan­golin in Gokwe.

Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from the wildlife author­ity, of the 416 poach­ers, 396 were lo­cals. ZimParks rangers also re­cov­ered 19 rif­fles, 71 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion, 285 snares and 50 boats dur­ing the anti-poach­ing oper­a­tions.

ZimParks spokesper­son Mr Ti­nashe Farawo said the bulk of the in­ci­dents oc­curred in the north­ern re­gion of the coun­try.

He said: “We will con­tinue to fight against this men­ace in an ef­fort to pro­tect our wildlife her­itage which is un­der threat as a re­sult of these il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.

“We are call­ing upon all cor­po­rates and in­di­vid­u­als to join hands with us to fight poach­ing. It is in the in­ter­ests of the coun­try to pro­tect our wildlife her­itage.

“While the loss of life is re­gret­table, we have a man­date to pro­tect our wildlife as well as our rangers from any harm which at times re­sults in the use of lethal force.

“We have de­clared war on poach­ers and we are warn­ing would-be poach­ers that they will be dealt with ac­cord­ingly with­out fear or prej­u­dice.”

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