HomeLocal NewsZimbabwe sitting on 5 tonnes of rhino horns

Zimbabwe sitting on 5 tonnes of rhino horns

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ZIMBABWE is sitting on close to five tonnes of rhino horn stockpiles, which are fast deteriorating in quality as weevils are reportedly feeding off them, a senior national parks’ official has revealed.

Nqobile Bhebhe
Chief Reporter

Apart from the rhino horns, the department also has up to 70 tonnes of elephant tusks worth $10 million which is also rotting as Zimbabwe has been barred from selling its ivory by Cites .

Zimbabwe is also under ban on export sale of trophies.

Of the 70 tonnes of elephant tusks, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority acting director for conservation, Geoffreys Matipano said they are categorised according to origins, with 59.4% are from the parks estate, 11,31% from rural district councils and the 0,7% from the forestry commission.

Addressing journalists during a tour of Hwange National Park main camp last week, Matipano said rapid change of weather conditions in the storage facilities is causing deterioration.

“We have huge ivory stocks at our central stores in Harare including rhino horns and there is no trade of the rhino horns, therefore you cannot attach value to it,” he said.

“They are currently being affected by weevils and the horns are fast becoming light in weight.”

Matipano said although rhino horns can be sold over the counter at $150 per kilogramme there is low demand from the curving industry.

“We have run out of storage space and there are high costs in terms of security attached with guarding the horn at the central stores,” he said.

“The domestic market is being affected by low demand and the rate of outflow is slower than rate of inflow into the central stores.

“Some are of the opinion of constructing a new holding facility.”

A rhino horn can sell for thousands of dollars on the black market.

Along with Chinese medicine, the horns are used for ornamental dagger handles in some Middle Eastern countries.

Poaching of rhinos is being fuelled by rising demand for rhino horn from Asia.

Rhino horns are prized as a status symbol in Asia and are thought to possess medicinal properties.

Zimbabwean authorities and conservation experts have adopted a raft of measures including jail terms for convicted poachers.

They have also taken to satellite tracking and relocation of rhinos from high threat areas to more secure sanctuaries.

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