Zimbabwe

3 poachers shot dead in Zim this week - 2 of them near a tourist hotspot

2017-01-13 08:25
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Hwange - Poachers in Zimbabwe are getting more daring: two were shot dead right near Hwange Main Camp, a top spot for bush-loving tourists, according to the state Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

Police and rangers reacted to gunshots heard at the camp on Tuesday morning. The camp is in Hwange National Park, where Cecil the Lion was killed in 2015. The park - which has self-catering lodges and chalets for tourists - is in western Zimbabwe, around eight hours' drive from Harare.

"Our rangers, working together with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, have shot and killed two Zimbabwean poachers during a contact at Hwange National Park. They reacted to gunshot sounds at the main camp in the morning," said Zimparks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo in a statement. She said that three pairs of elephant tusks, a rifle and ammunition were recovered from the dead poachers.

The independent Bhejane Trust, which operates in Hwange, said that the two poachers had just shot an elephant. "Hats off to the rangers operating under these extremely tough conditions," the trust said in an online update. The elephant is understood to have been an adult bull.

A third poacher was shot dead in a separate incident Wednesday in the Hurungwe area of the Lower Zambezi Valley, the trust has also announced.

The dead man is understood to be Zambian. The incident has not yet been confirmed by police. The trust says the man's two colleagues - also believed to be Zambians - escaped.

December and January are bad months for poaching in many parts of Zimbabwe. Poachers are aware that regular scouts may be on annual leave, while the onset of the rainy season has left the bush thick and green and easier to pass undetected through.

Elephants in parts of western Zimbabwe are particularly vulnerable to Zambian poachers who cross the Zambezi river, often by the light of the moon.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  conservation

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