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Cyanide poisoning claim 251 elephants since 2013

by Staff Reporter
19 Oct 2017 at 13:00hrs | Views
251 elephants have been killed due to cyanide poisoning since 2013 as the country continues to battle with the worrying scourge of poaching which is threatening Zimbabwe's wildlife heritage.

The revelations follow the recent killing of 13 elephants at Masikili communal area in Hwange.

Between January to October this year, 42 elephants have died as a result of cyanide poisoning, while a total of 429 arrests were made.

A recent study on the poaching trends in protected areas on the Zimbabwean side of KAZA points to a gloomy outlook with poaching projected to worsen as the operational tactics of poachers are becoming more sophisticated and complex.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority Public Relations Manager, Mr Tinashe Farawo said the worrying figures should motivate all stakeholders involved in the anti-poaching drive to double their efforts.

Since 2013, 900 jumbos have succumbed to poaching, and experts said this is negative to both the wildlife and tourism sectors.

"The wildlife sector has several multiplier effects that have to a huge extent resulted in economic development of the country but what is happening now is affecting the perception of the sector locally and globally. Poaching is really dealing a huge blow in terms of the value for the wild life resources, while posing a threat on the ability of the tourism sector to generate more wealth," said Mr Emmanuel Fundira, Safari Operators Association Of Zimbabwe President.

"The depletion of wildlife due to poaching is worrying if we consider its negative impact on yearly tourism receipts," Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agencies Vice President, Mr Ignatious Matungamire said.

With rampant poaching emerging as a key concern, the vile emits a bad marketing vibe on destination Zimbabwe hence the need to urgently formulate workable policies to stamp out the illicit activities.

Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Brigadier General Augustine Chipwere and Matabeleland North ZRP Spokesperson, Inspector Siphiwe Makonese concurred that communities must take a lead in the conservation efforts and the preservation of the country wildlife heritage.

The sentiments were also shared by conservationists in the affected areas.

"The poachers live within our communities as has been made evident in the anti-stock theft campaigns. We have involved our communities in anti-stock theft whether one have cattle or not. So this can be a way to go in the fight against poaching," a wildlife conservationist, Mr Victor Sibanda said.

Another conservationist, Mr Clement Mukwasi said the processing of trophies into finished products for both exports and domestic sales can have a huge impact in reducing revenue loss and creating employment.

"ZIMASSET points to the importance of value addition and the hunting sector is no different. Instead of just selling hunting quotas to hunters from all over the world what we should also focus on as a country is to do processing locally, set up industries that are going to process the tusks and hides into finished goods. We want to produce necklaces and various artifacts here which then go out and fetch higher prices abroad. This is going to create employment and reduce," he said.

Chairperson of the Hwange-Gwayi-Dete Conservancy and Tourism Association Mr Langton Masunda said human wildlife conflict is also contributing to poaching cases, adding that since elephants are over-populated at Hwange National Park, systematic culling will slow down the movement of wildlife into communities.

The government has crafted a human-wildlife compensation fund to cushion those that will fall victims to wild animals in the form of injury, death, property damage and livestock loss.

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Source - zbc