Matusadona Anti-Poaching Project (Mapp) yesterday said it had busted another wildlife poaching syndicate and arrested seven suspects in the Dande area.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
In a statement, Mapp said the suspects were rounded up over the weekend in two separate raids conducted between Mushumbi Pools and Dande Safari area, leading to the recovery of several elephant tusks and a fresh leopard skin.
“Seven suspected ivory poachers, one of them a Mozambican, were arrested on Sunday in possession of eight fresh tusks,” Mapp said, adding the suspects were detained at Guruve Police Station.
“The privately-owned anti-poaching unit hailed the police’s Minerals and Border Control Unit and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority for helping in the operation.
“Not many of you will be aware of the lengths we go to apprehend these criminals, these operations are expensive, dangerous and exhausting. The lethal weapons surrounding our national parks are used to kill our wildlife and need to be removed, if we are to succeed,” Mapp said.
Last month, the unit arrested nearly 30 poachers, including locals and Zambian citizens, for wildlife crimes committed in Matusadona National Park and fish-poaching on Lake Kariba.
Zimbabwe has witnessed an upsurge in the number of elephants being killed by poachers in national parks dotted around the country, with some of the suspects using cyanide poison.
The elephants were targeted for their ivory, which has a ready market in countries such as China and parts of Asia.
Last year, the government said it was deploying soldiers in national parks to fight poaching, but the move is yet bear fruit.