Poachers have reportedly wreaked havoc in wildlife conservancies in Shangani, Matabeleland South and farmers in the area have expressed fears the activities could deprive them of much-needed safari hunting revenue.
Security personnel in the conservancies told NewsDay on Friday poaching activities were rampant at Esmnyangeni Farm owned by Stephan Harvey, Debshan and Auckland Farm.
They said the illegal activities have been reported to the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority on several occasions, but no suspects have been prosecuted so far.
Auckland Farm owner Joseph Tayali said: “I am worried by the poaching activities in the conservancies. I recently arrested some poachers at Esmnyangeni Farm and referred them to Parks and Wildlife Management”.
Debshan Farm manager Collins Edward yesterday also confirmed poaching reports.
Edward said: “We engage Parks and Wildlife and the police to alleviate the poaching problems. We have established that there are three types of poachers. Those who set wire snares, those who hunt using dogs, and those using firearms.”
A detailed report compiled by Debshan Farm revealed since January this year to the end of July, $30 110 worth of game were killed by poachers at the farm.
The conservancies are huge and authorities suspect the figures could be higher since security personnel could not reach all areas during their patrol operations.
Poachers are allegedly targeting zebras, elephants, impalas and kudus. Security personnel said 19 gun cartridges and 31 live bullets were recently recovered at Auckland Farm.
A security officer at Esmnyangeni Farm Rickson Kangwena Mpofu said sometimes they find bullets lodged in animals shot by the alleged poachers.
Mpofu said they have discovered live bullets and cartridges on the farms, most of which seemed to be from a .303 rifle.
Parks and Wildlife Management Authority provincial spokesperson, Felix Chimeramombe, on Friday said a senior Parks and Wildlife Management security officer had been deployed to investigate the matter.
Yesterday, Edward confirmed the deployment saying the officer was in constant contact with the conservancies over the poaching activities.