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This press statement is in response to a story posted by Jonny Rodrigues on social media where he alleges that Parks and Wildlife Management Authority had captured 8 lions, 4 giraffe, 8 hyena and 40 elephants destined for China. He further alleges that captured animals have been beheaded so that they may be mounted and sold as trophies especially animals with large horns and that monkeys are being skinned and being fed to the capture team.
This story is false and seems to have been written only to taint the reputation of the Authority ahead of the Seventeenth Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES COP 17). The only elephants that have been captured will be translocated to Chirisa National Park under the Wildlife Drought Mitigation Strategy (2015 – 2016). The Wildlife Drought Mitigation Strategy was approved by Cabinet in January 2016. The primary purpose of these translocations is for conservation through reduced mortalities due to lack of forage and water in their current habitats.
Throughout the processes, the Authority is working closely with organisations such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Wildlife Veterinary Unit under the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. This collaboration is meant to ensure that the animals are treated well and managed in a manner that protects them from disease outbreaks.
The translocation exercise is open to property holders with sufficient land to accommodate the affected animals and adequate infrastructure, water, food and security to look after the wildlife. Private ranches and conservancies have also submitted their proposals to the Authority for destocking their areas.
He also purported that one of the male members of Cecil’s pride has been captured and is ready for export to China. The lion in question is not related to Cecil’s pride and will not be exported to China. The facts are that rangers in Hwange National Park received a call from a villager in Tsholotsho Mlevu Village on 21 July 2016 that there was a snared young lion. The game capture team and Paul de Montille of DART were dispatched to attend to the lion. The team managed to rescue the lion estimated to be between 14 to 18 months old. The snare was around the chest and on one shoulder the chest and one shoulder. It was a six strand steel break cable from a truck. The lion is receiving treatment at Umtshibi and will be released back into the wild once it has fully recovered.
There are also no monkeys being killed to feed the capture team. This story seems to have been regenerated from a story that appeared in the Mirror Newspaper dated 2 -8 September 2016 that alleges that Mwenezi communities are feeding on monkeys and baboons due to the current drought.
We would like to assure the nation that the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority will do all it can in accordance with national laws to sustainably conserve and manage the country’s wildlife heritage. The wildlife translocation processes are open for coverage by members of the media to ensure transparency in the execution of our mandate.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, as mandated by the Parks and Wildlife Management Act Chapter 20:14 to conserve the county’s wildlife heritage announces measures that are meant to improve the general management of the country’s iconic elephant individuals.
Online Resevations for all Zimparks Facilities will now be made easy in the short-coming time. Payments will be made via paypal, mastercard services, ecocash, credit cards or even cash.