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Village heads caged for killing lion

by Staff reporter
26 May 2024 at 13:36hrs | Views
Two village heads from Hwange's Dete area have been sentenced to 12 months in prison for the killing of a lion valued at US$20,000. Elias Nyoni (51) and Zenzo Ndlovu (47) pleaded guilty before a Hwange magistrate last Wednesday.

The court handed down a 12-month jail term to each of the village heads, with six months suspended for five years on the condition of good behavior. Additionally, they were ordered to compensate the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority with US$20,000. The snares used in the lion's killing were forfeited to the state.

The case unfolded after police received a report from the Parks Authority on May 17, 2024, regarding the suspected poaching incident. Investigations revealed that the collar-tracking signal of the lion had remained stationary from May 12 to 17. Upon reaching the scene, authorities discovered the carcass of a lion alongside a donkey carcass.

Further investigations implicated Nyoni and Ndlovu in the lion's killing. They led authorities to recover the collar tracker and a class one wire snare used in the incident. However, the collar tracker was destroyed beyond repair. Additionally, three sacks of game meat, 16 lion claws, and four lion teeth were recovered during the investigation.

The incident highlights the escalating human-wildlife conflict in the Matebeleland North region, exacerbated by factors such as the El Nino-induced drought. As wild animals seek water sources closer to human settlements, conflicts arise, compounded by economic hardships driving people to seek alternative sources of food and income.

Despite government's shoot-to-kill policy aimed at deterring poaching, illegal killings of wildlife persist. Wildlife trafficking ranks as the third most lucrative illicit trade globally, following drugs and weapons, with an estimated annual trade value of $10 billion.

Source - online
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