ZIMBABWE PARKS AND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY WORKING WITH COMMUNITIES IN ANTI-POACHING ACTIVITIES.

Communities that reside adjacent Hwange National Park have sent a clear message to poachers that any form of illegal harvesting of the country’s wildlife resources has no room in society. This follows a citizen’s arrest in Gwayi area close to Hwange National Park where Innocent Nyathi,41, arrested by the community . His colleague, who is yet to be identified, escaped and is on the run.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority  said the two were allegedly found with 3 kilogrammes of cyanide in their possession when they were apprehended. The arrest was effected by a Gwayi man who later called Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority offices. The accused person has been sentenced to nine years imprisonment for illegal possession of raw ivory weighing 4 kilogrammes. The accused person appeared before Hwange Provincial Magistrate Rosemary Dube while Memory Musaka appeared for the state. The accused person pleaded guilty and was given a mandatory nine years in prison.

Meanwhile Munashe Chandake aged 25years of Jenyedza St Rujeko, B. in Masvingo was arrested by a joint anti-poaching operation team comprising Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Zimbabwe Republic Police, ZRP and anti- tracking specialist, ATS . The team managed to avert a  would be indiscriminate killing of wildlife in one of the water holes, when they were arrested Chindake who was found in illegal possession of 2 kilogrammes of cyanide and has since appeared before Masvingo Magistrate where he was remanded in custody for continuation of trial. Chishakwe ranch is home to a variety of wildlife species.

In yet another incident, Petros Kunyeti was sentenced to 12 months in prison for the illegal possession of cyanide by a Guruve Magistrate, Artwell Sanyatwe for illegal possession  500 grammes of cyanide. Kunyeti was carrying the cyanide intending to administer it in order to kill elephants in Mana Pools, Lower Guruve when he was apprehended by a crack team from the ZRP Minerals and Border Control Unit and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Vanestancia Musiiwa was prosecuting.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority is warning members of the public on how extremely dangerous cyanide is to humans, domestic and wild animals as it causes death within seconds after being exposed to it.

The Authority will forever remain grateful to its stakeholders who have assisted in fighting poaching in the country adding that wildlife crime needs an all stakeholder’s approach if the war against poaching is to be realised.

Zimbabwe first female relieves memories

Growing up in the rural areas, in the 1970s every little girl then aspired to be a teacher, nurse or just being a full time housewife. With no mentor to look up to for advice on which career to pursue, opportunities were even more diminished for rural girls, who could not dream beyond the boundaries of their owncommunities.

That was the same predicament that Mrs Doris Tom found herself in soon after completing her Ordinary Levels in 1978.

Luckily for her, an advertisement that she stumbled on in one of the newspapers charted her career as a female ranger – a profession that no one knew anything about in her home area of Matopo.

Her decision to apply for the challenging and gruesome profession, despite her father’s reluctance, was the turning point in her life.

She might not have earned recognition within her own community then, but Mrs Tom carved her own piece of history by becoming the first female black ranger in Zimbabwe.

“I ventured into unknown territory, with little or no information of what being a ranger entailed, but I rose above the occasion.

“The time I spent in this field bears testimony to my undying passion for the profession that has shaped my life and values,” said Mrs Tom in an interview recently.

Mrs Tom is the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority head Management Services, and has been with the organisation for 34 years from the time she joined the institution in 1982, as a ranger.

She is among the few people who have been strategically involved in its several transformational stages and was also instrumental in some of the changes that the National Parks boasts of today.

Some of the changes included the designing of the shoulder titles for the authority and ensuring that the institution would have four regions from the previous three as part of the organisation’s efforts to effectively manage its operations.

“I have grown with the organisation and it’s quite gratifying to note that conditions of services particularly for female rangers continue to improve from the time that I joined the wildlife authority” she reminisced.

Reliving memories of her first five years as a ranger which was predominantly a male terrain, Mrs Tom said life was indeed tough.

Apart from the gruelling physical tasks, which were part of her training, she had to deal with gender stereotyping from male colleagues and in some instances racial slur from some of her supervisors, who were white.

“During training, the majority of men were not keen to work alongside the two of us – myself and a white female ranger – and would often pass unsavoury comments meant to discourage us,” she said.

She recalled one incident soon after completing her two-year diploma programme when the Range Rover that she was using broke down.

She called the office for assistance, but one of her white supervisors, stopped a male colleague from assisting her, arguing that the training she had received was sufficient enough to enable her to repair the truck’s gearbox.

Luckily for her, having grasped all the concepts taught during her training, Mrs Tom managed to fix the gearbox. However despite her feat, she still needed assistance to put the gear box back.

“I encountered several such situations, but I could not afford to quit. I had come a long way with my course, I just could not abandon everything,” she revealed.

Her situation did not get better when she got pregnant with her first child, because she still had to execute her task, including going on patrol.

Rather than discouraging her, all the challenges she faced reaffirmed Mrs Tom’s resolute to soldier on in a domain where men had proven their supremacy.

“I could not suddenly back down and admit that I had failed. My two-year training, which was both practical and theoretical, had taught me what to expect in terms of the gruelling tasks that lay ahead,” she said.

Having covered modules on mechanics, weaponry, map reading, drilling, identification of animals and plumbing, Mrs Tom was mentally prepared, although she had hoped for support from her male colleagues.

However, her determination to leave a mark where no female had traded was not without rewards and job satisfaction. It also deepened her understanding and appreciation of the animal kingdom and conservation tourism.

“I know each and every one of the 47 stations owned by Parks and I have headed all the four regions in Zimbabwe, including working in the Zambezi Valley, which is notorious with poachers and also houses Zimbabwe’s big five.

“I can safely say, I have been there and done this and that,” she said with a chuckle.

Looking back, Mrs Tom believes she made the right choice and the wildlife authority has since rewarded her for her perseverance, determination and endurance in an area that had not been chartered before by black females.

In addition, Parks now have several female rangers whose numbers continue to grow as more women than before embrace the profession.

At 58, with the better part of her life having been spent in the jungle, Mrs Tom would one day want to retire, a decision she would take with grace.

“One day I will retire and go home, knowing that I accomplished my task and would relish the idea of having more women, walk in my shoes,” said Mrs Tom, a widow with four children.

When she is not on the internet researching on animals or on global anti-poaching initiatives, Mrs Tom is a hopeless romantic, who gets the thrills in going through Barbara Cartland’s collection of novels.

ZIMPARKS CONCERNED AT THE RATE OF HUMAN WILDLIFE CONFLICT CASES IN ZIMBABWE.

ZIMPARKS CONCERNED AT THE RATE OF HUMAN WILDLIFE CONFLICT CASES IN ZIMBABWE.

 

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority expresses concern at the high rate of human wildlife conflict cases involving mainly elephants especially in the farming season. No day passes without Zimparks offices receiving a report of elephants that stray into communities that reside adjacent wildlife areas. The just ended Christmas period saw communities dedicating more of their time to protecting their fields from elephants as opposed to spending quality time with their families.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said one such area is Makore Village in Gokwe North where a total of 18 elephants were found in the community on the 27th of December. A report was quickly made to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and a team comprising Zimparks and Gokwe North rural district council, (RDC) was immediately deployed to manage the situation. Two professional hunters constitute the team that was deployed and will only leave the area when the elephants have been driven out.

She added  that the community feared that their crops which are doing well were under attack, this following the rains that have been received countrywide. The availability of water almost everywhere is good a reason for elephants to travel long distances. Human life has been threatened and as a result the Authority has scaled up efforts to carrying out awareness campaign programmes with the communities on how to behave around elephants. The elephants are suspected to have travelled from Matusadonha National Park and follow the Sanyati River.

 

In a related development, on the 23rd of December in Bhatiti Area of Chikombedzi in Chiredzi South two cheetahs nearly attacked an 8 month old baby who was playing at her parents’ homestead. The cheetahs had earlier preyed on goats. The community was brave enough and armed with axes, dogs and bayonets, chased the two cheetahs.

The community successfully managed to separate the two cheetahs with one fleeing into Gonakudzingwa Farms while the other which had become aggressive was trapped in a tree, after killing a hen. After four hours the same cheetah returned to the area and the community was left with no option but to kill it in order to save their lives.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers continue to work with Chiredzi South community in ensuring that their day to day lives are not distrupted.

Still in the same province two lions are reported to have attacked and killed three cattle in Chigwite Village, Save Valley conservancy. Zimbabwe Parks and Widlife Management Authority rangers and officials from Save Valley Conservancy are in the area to manage the problem. What concerns Zimparks about such attacks is that the owner of the cattle had made every effort to pen his cattle and the lions could not resist the tempatation.Predators such as lions, hyenas and cheetahs are devising new hunting areas opting to attack softer targets.

Zimparks urges communities to immediately report the presence of wildlife in their area to the nearest Zimparks offices, Zimbabwe Republic Police, ZRP or the local traditional leadership.

Meanwhile a Zambian poacher was shot and killed, during the Christmas period, at Nyamuomba sub camp in Rifa section Morongora, Hurungwe Safari Area. This happened when Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers on patrol exchanged fire with four suspected Zambian poachers. The other three escaped. The case was reported to ZRP Chirundu.

The following items were recovered

·     One shot gun

·     8 live rounds, 303

·     One impala carcass

Investigations are continuing.

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November 12, 2015November 12, 2015
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