ZIMBABWE will on Saturday join the rest of the world in commemorating World Rhino Day amid concerns of increased decimation of the endangered species through poaching.
REPORT BY STAFF REPORTER
Yesterday, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the country had so far lost eight rhinos to poachers since the beginning of this year.
“The country in 2011 lost 30 rhinos in private land and five rhinos in State land to poaching. In 2012, 14 rhinos were lost to poaching in private land and eight in State land.
“The year 2013, from January to June, we have lost eight rhinos to poachers all in private land,” she said.
“In 2013, the majority of the rhino poaching incidents have been carried out in some private conservancies.
The country has less than 1 000 individuals of both black and white rhinos.”
The commemorations, which will be officiated by new Environment, Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere, come amid reports of a major ecological disaster in Hwange where about 69 elephants recently died of cyanide poisoning allegedly administered by a poaching syndicate involving six locals and a South African businessperson.
“Zimbabwe has come up with a number of strategies to ensure protection of flagship species.
“The anti-poaching unit which is the backbone of wildlife conservation with special attention to the endangered species such as the rhino, both black and white and the elephant, has seen resources being deliberately channelled towards anti-poaching activities.”
Washaya-Moyo said this year’s commemorations would be held in Bulawayo under the theme “Rhino Leading the Charge Against Extinction”.