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Lions terrorise Chimanimani villagers

Villagers in the Tiya area of Chimanimani are living in fear of lions that are believed to have escaped from Devure Range in Bikita and have reportedly killed three cattle in the past weeks.

The lions were first spotted in the Gwindingwi area in August, but have since moved further up into Tiya area where villagers believe they could end up moving into human settlements if they are not captured. Mr Tendai Tuso, a villager, said they had sent a distress call to the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) to deal with the cats.

“No one has seen the lions yet, but two villagers have already lost cattle to the beasts. When they were first reported in other areas in August, a team from Zimparks came, but could not capture them. They taught us what to do if we encounter the lions and how to enhance security around our pens. They told us that if the lions were not captured, they would naturally move from the colder to warmer areas on their own, but they have not done that,” he said.

Since then, Mr Tuso said the lions had moved further into the district, raising concerns that they would eventually attack herdboys who might stumble upon them. He said Zimparks should intensify the search for the cats to ensure that no human life was lost, as well as to curb the loss of livestock. Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said the authority had already despatched a team to deal with the matter.

“Yes, we received information that there are a number of lions in the Gwindingwi area in Chimanimani and we have a team on the ground to track and capture them,” he said.

“We, however, have not received any reports from the Tiya area. These might be the same beasts that our team has been searching for.”

Mr Farawo urged villagers to report such cases to them as soon as they happen to ensure swift capture of the beasts to avoid loss of lives.

“We assure the villagers that our teams are on the ground and the problem will be solved as soon as we possibly can,” he said. – (insert from Zimpapers Manicaland Bureau)

200kg Malaysia-bound ivory intercepted at RGM Airport

At least 200 kilogrammes of ivory worth over half a million dollars was intercepted at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Monday, while destined for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZimParks) confirmed the interception yesterday and said it is on high alert. The owner of the ivory, which was boxed, was still not known by yesterday. The interception of the loot followed a joint operation by parks and security agencies at the international airport.

ZimParks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo confirmed the development in an interview with The Herald yesterday. Investigations to track down the criminals behind the attempted smuggling of the ivory were underway. The Herald is reliably informed that the net is fast closing on the suspects.

“The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority officers at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, working with other security agencies, on Monday intercepted 200kg of ivory destined for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,” said Mr Farawo.

“Efforts to get the owner are underway.” Mr Farawo said the case had since been handed over to the Zimbabwe Republic Police. “The matter has been handed over to the ZRP Border Control and Minerals Unit,” he said. “As parks, we are on high alert. We will not allow such illegal activities to happen and this is in line with President Mnangagwa’s policy of zero tolerance on corruption.

“We are excited that we are moving in line with the Head of State and Government. I can assure you, we will get to the bottom of this matter, as the net is closing in on the culprits.” The country has 84 000 elephants, which it considers too many, but is unable to sell ivory due to CITES restrictions. Poaching has seen a good number of elephants being killed through shooting or poisoning using cyanide.

A total of 893 jumbos were poached between 2013 and 2016. Out of this number, 249 elephants were killed through poisoning using cyanide or shooting. – (insert from Zimpapers).

President pays Zimparks a visit

President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday paid a visit to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to familiarise himself with the operations of the organisation. Addressing journalists after the tour, Zimparks director-general Mr Fulton Mangwanya said they invited the President to appreciate their operations. “We invited him to see what we are doing as national parks,” he said.

“As you know, the national parks is part of the cog of tourism and as you know the President is on the drive to make sure that tourism picks up. Visitors come here for the heritage that we have and what we are doing is to push up tourism so that we benefit as a country.”

Mr Mangwanya said they had also introduced the President to Akashinga, an all-female team of rangers from Nyamakati in Hurungwe.

“We have these ladies who are doing a task which was usually done by men and it’s so encouraging because in a lot of communities we actually have a lot of these ladies who are doing nothing and they actually assist in the conservation of our wildlife resources and it goes a long way in preserving our animals,” he said.

The women were trained with the assistance of a non-governmental organisation to carry out community conservation and improve their livelihoods. Meanwhile, Mr Mangwanya said investigations into the origins of the ivory that was intercepted at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport recently were ongoing.

Zimparks intercepted 200kg of Malaysia bound ivory valued at $1 million. A number of poachers have been arrested or killed in shoot-outs with Zimparks rangers in the country’s wildlife reserves. Several elephants have been killed by poachers through cyanide poisoning, especially in Hwange. – (inset from Zimpapers)

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Zimparks guns down hippo in Nyanyadzi

August 31, 2017August 31, 2017
Inset from Zimpapers. THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority last week shot dead a hippopotamus that was damaging winter wheat in Nyanyadzi. The hippo, which had a calf, is believed to have escaped from Save Conservancy. ZPWMA ordered the shooting of the hippos after traditional leaders in the area reported that it was damaging crops and endangering lives. ZPWMA officer, Mr John Danfa, said they were still hunting for the calf which is believed to have found habitat along Save River. “Usually hippos move up and down rivers during the rainy season. We believe the two escaped from Save Valley Conservancy. They were both females and they do not usually click if there is no male. “They are believed to have separated. We received reports from traditional leaders in Hot Springs and Nyanyadzi that these hippos were feeding on wheat and crops in their fields.” “People’s lives were endangered so the authorities ordered its killing. The first time we attempted to kill it, it was in the company of so many cattle and could not do anything. Our officer teamed up with villagers to track it until last week when it was shot down in Nyanyadzi”. The officer is said to have fired 12 shots before the hippo died. The meat was shared by villagers. One of the villagers in Dirikwe village, Mr Tapiwa Munyati, said: “This hippo was becoming a threat to human lives in the area. It was being spotted near homes at night. “There are vegetable gardens along one of Save River’s tributaries where it was being spotted.“We were told that hippos do not like light and the danger was that lives would have been lost.” “A villager survived death by a whisker recently when the hippo strayed into his homestead.“He went out of his house to investigate when his dogs were barking. He had a torch and the hippo advanced towards him. “Fortunately he managed to escape the attack and notified other villagers and the village head. We are appealing to the responsible authorities to make sure that the remaining one is also killed,” said Mr Munyati.