Man arrested for rescuing Zim's official bird – report

2017-05-23 18:31
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Harare – A Zimbabwean man has reportedly been dragged to court after he tried to rescue the country’s official bird, which he had found at his home unable to fly.

According to New Zimbabwe, 19-year-old Takudzwa Brendon Gwatidzo was charged with contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act after being found in possession of the protected bird without a permit.

A stone-carved Zimbabwe Bird, which is believed to be that of the African Fish Eagle or Bateleur eagle, is the national emblem of Zimbabwe, appearing on the national flag and coat of arms.

The court heard that Gwatidzo – a lower 6 student – had rescued the country’s official bird after he noticed that it was battling to fly after it landed at his house.

Gwatidzo allegedly placed the bird in a cage and told his younger sibling to give the bird water and to feed it, while he went to find authorities at Birdlife Zimbabwe.

On arrival at the bird sanctuary, he was told that they did not keep such birds there, and that he should go to Chivero to see wildlife authorities.

"I was told that I should go to Chivero to Parks and Wildlife authorities, but when I got home, police officers and parks officials arrived promptly and arrested me," Gwatidzo was quoted as saying.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, the man pleaded guilty to the charge and was expected to be sentenced on Wednesday.

The mandatory sentence for being in the possession of a protected animal is nine years in jail. 

The bird is reportedly valued at $1 000 and has since been taken to Zimparks. 

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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