HomeLocal NewsChinese looting baby tortoises at Mukuvisi Woodlands

Chinese looting baby tortoises at Mukuvisi Woodlands

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Officials at Mukuvisi Woodlands in Harare are on high alert after it emerged Chinese nationals had embarked on a looting spree of baby tortoises at the conservation area.

The allegations were made by the director of Wildlife Environment Zimbabwe William Nduku during a Knowledge Brief on issues around Wildlife organised by the Humanitarian and Information Facilitation Centre in Harare yesterday.

He said the theft of tortoises by Chinese nationals at Mukuvisi Woodlands had become a major cause for concern.

We used to have some Chinese nationals coming here on the pretext of seeing the baby tortoises. But they would put them into their pockets.

Now we hear they have turned to rural areas where they are paying people huge sums of money for the tortoises, said Nduku, adding thefts were a threat to the survival of the species itself.

He said following the discovery of the looting, they put security on high alert as the number of the tortoises were diminishing.

He said several arrests of the Chinese nationals were made by security personnel at the conservation.

We had to put our security on high alert and we managed to make several arrests and those arrested were handed over to the police, but we do not know what action has been taken on them, he said.

Nduku added Chinese nationals had become a major security threat at the conservation area to an extent they were now being monitored whenever they come for visits.

What we now do is that we provide them with an escort team whenever they come here because we are concerned with the safety of tortoises, he said.
In February this year, four Chinese nationals were arrested on allegations of killing 40 tortoises for meat in Bikita.

Their arrest followed a raid by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the police and parks and wildlife authorities.

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