35 years in jail for Zim rhino poacher

2016-01-01 21:55


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Zimbabwe - Conservationists in Zimbabwe on Friday welcomed reports that a poacher who was part of a gang that killed two rhinos in the south of the country has been sentenced to 35 years in jail.

The state-controlled Chronicle newspaper reports that the unusually heavy sentence was handed down to Tawengwa Machona on New Year's Eve by a magistrate in the city of Masvingo.

Zimbabwe is battling to save its few hundred remaining black and white rhino amid an upsurge in poaching in 2015.

Convicted poachers don't often get sentences of more than nine years in Zimbabwe.

Machona's sentence will only be reduced if he manages to pay back 480 000 US dollars - the estimated value of the rhinos - within the next five years, the newspaper says. If he does, he will serve 20 years in jail.

The Tikki Hywood Trust, which is well-known for its work rehabilitating endangered pangolins, described the sentence as "a great victory for Zimbabwe".

"Congratulations to all departments involved from the ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police), to Parks, the magistrates together with the public prosecutors who were involved in ensuring that justice was served," the trust said in a post to Facebook.

The two rhinos were killed in 2014 and 2015 in the Save Valley Conservancy near the southern sugar cane-growing town of Chiredzi.

Two of Machona's accomplices are being charged separately. The alleged ringleader is an assistant officer in Zimbabwe's secret service. Two more members of the gang are reportedly on the run.

"You deserve a deterrent sentence so that you can be a reformed person when you come out of prison," Magistrate Langton Ndokera was quoted as saying.

Four rhinos were poached in Zimbabwe's Lowveld region during a three-week period towards the end of the year.

Rhinos are killed for their horns, which are used in traditional medicine, mainly in Asia. They're so valuable that even rhino calves are targeted.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  poaching  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.