Tusk force: Zim army to take on elephant poachers in national parks

2015-11-09 12:37
(Picture: iStock)

(Picture: iStock)

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Harare – The Zimbabwean army is reportedly set to be deployed to the country’s national parks following the killing of dozens of elephants in recent months.  

According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri revealed last week that the government had adopted a "very serious" approach to deal with poachers.

"We have now roped in the army and you will now see a very serious operation which should send a warning to these poachers that we are now very serious," Muchinguri-Kashiri was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwean media reported recently that at least 62 elephants were known to have been killed by cyanide poisoning since September in Hwange and Kariba.

Muchinguri-Kashiri said the army was set to complement rangers. She added that her ministry was also going to work with the University of Zimbabwe to develop a wildlife tracking system.

A report by the Sunday Mail quoted the minister over the weekend as saying there were not enough rangers patrolling Hwange National Park and those that did live in the vast park endured "deplorable" work conditions.

Muchinguri-Kashiri said more resources had to be given to communities surrounding the park - where most of the 60 elephant poisonings took place in October - so that "they do not harbour poachers", the report said.

Zimbabwean police last week arrested and detained three journalists from the state media after a story alleging the involvement of a top police officer in some of the poisonings.

The three, Mabasa Sasa, Tinashe Farawo and Brian Chitemba, all from the Sunday Mail, were later released on bail after being charged with publishing falsehoods.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  poaching  |  southern africa  |  animals

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