Anti-poaching drive pays dividends

Anti-poaching drive pays dividends

Government efforts in curbing poaching in the Zambezi Valley – complemented by various parties – continue to yield positive results with crime going down significantly since 2016.

In its quarterly bulletin released recently, the Zambezi Society said the volunteer anti-poaching initiative to support the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) had seen number of elephants killed by poachers dropping in the past three years

The number of elephants known to have been poached dropped by 61 percent in 2017 before going down by a further 36 percent last year.

The initiative also saw 11 cases of ivory being concluded with criminals receiving nine-year sentences while another two cases had 10-year sentences.

In an interview, Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo paid tribute to the relationship between the wildlife authority and its partners including the new strategies introduced by management.

“The most important thing is the partnerships we have built over the years with our partners while the coming in of our director general has boosted cooperation with partners.

“Since the coming in of Mr Fulton Upenyu Mangwanya as the Zimparks director-general, we have recorded a positive trend on anti-poaching especially on law enforcement,” Mr Farawo said.

He said the new management had introduced various courses including intelligence and information gathering, and use of weapons among others which have been very effective.

“This has also helped us in that if one is found in a protected area, our rangers will not hesitate to shoot and the same applies when they are shot at,” he said.

Mr Farawo said while more resources are needed in law enforcement to protect animals from poachers, Zimparks had increased patrols, and radio communication.

“The new management has increased the vehicle fleet for patrols; more are needed,” he said. In curbing poaching along the Zambezi Valley, two poachers believed to be foreigners were shot dead and there has also been increased joint patrols with regional counterparts in Zambia.

Meanwhile, the Zambezi Society said the volunteer anti-poaching drive was driven by an adaptive Elephant Management Plan headed by Zimparks with input from conservation support organisations and other stakeholders.

“This has built a valuable degree of trust between the public and private sector and has received very positive feedback,” the society said.

This, the society said, has resulted in a significant reduction in elephant poaching, a sharp change upwards in wildlife crime prosecutions and successful convictions for poaching and a major improvement in collaboration and trust the public and private sector.

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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.