News24

Poachers 'kill' 9 black rhinos

2006-08-07 11:08

Harare - Poachers have killed at least nine rare black rhinos in a conservation area in central Zimbabwe, say reports.

Geoffrey Matipano, a spokesperson from the state-run Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, said: "We have lost at least nine black rhinos from Midlands Conservancy."

Poaching was said to be on the increase in cash-strapped Zimbabwe, where wildlife officials battled with ever-dwindling resources that stopped them from effectively safeguarding rare game.

Govt 'needs more resources'

The black rhino was particularly sought after by poachers because some of its body parts could be sold to Asia and the Middle East for use in traditional medicines.

Edward Mbewe, the head of the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, said the government needed more resources, especially aircraft, if it was to fight the poachers effectively.

According to Mbewe: "The tracking part also calls for specific equipment that we do not have in some of our protected zones. Enhancement can also be achieved if we manage to hire aircraft for effective monitoring.

"This system is not yet working in some rhino havens and monitoring of the species becomes a major challenge because we will only be relying on foot patrols."

Several black rhinos were killed on a farm in western Zimbabwe last year. The farm had been seized under the government's controversial land reform programme.

Sapa-dpa