PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has declared war against wildlife poachers and demanded accountability in the operations of the country’s wildlife conservancies.
Dumisani Sibanda, Assignments Editor
Addressing a Zanu PF central committee meeting in Harare on Friday, Mugabe expressed concern that under the current set-up, only the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate was privy to the tender processes and the amount of revenue generated from the wildlife sector.
“Let’s wage a war against those who do poaching,” Mugabe said.
Zimparks last Thursday reported that two white rhino carcasses were found at Matopos National Park with their horns hacked off by suspected poachers.
The incident follows an ecological disaster which happened in Hwange recently where over 100 elephants succumbed to cyanide poisoning by poachers, leading to the arrest and subsequent incarceration of some Tsholotsho villagers.
Mugabe urged party members to join hands with government in the “war against poachers”.
“Let’s not poison our elephants,” Mugabe said.
The poachers are believed to be smuggling the rhino horns and elephant tusks to Europe and China where they are reportedly used as medicine, aphrodisiacs and ceremonial daggers.
Africa has an estimated elephant population of about 650 000 with Zimbabwe, neighbouring Botswana and Tanzania accounting for half of the elephant head.
Zimbabwe has more than 100 000 elephants.