Poachers remain huge menace to wildlife

A picture taken on February 23, 2012 shows elephants killed by poachers at the Bouba Ndjidda National Park in northern Cameroon, near the border with Chad. Clashes between Cameroonian troops and ivory poachers in the northern Bouba Ndjidda reserve have killed a soldier and a smuggler and left four wounded, local officials said on March 8, 2012. "These past few days, there was fighting between our soldiers and smugglers at Bouba Ndjidda," said a regional administrative official close to the case, who asked not to be named. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER

AT least 119 people were killed by in the past 12 months up to August this year worldwide while fighting against poaching, amid revelations that many die at the hands of illegal hunters.


The chilling statistics were released during commemorations to mark World Rangers Day in Victoria Falls.

The commemorations were hosted by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) and ran under the theme, I Will Stand with the Rangers of the World Protecting our Wildlife.

Delegates at the meeting observed a minute of silence for the slain rangers.

According to statistics released by International Rangers Federation (IRF), India had the highest casualties, with 25 killed at various wildlife conservancies.

It emerged that rangers in the Democratic Republic of Congo were targeted by terrorists, while Zimbabwe lost two wardens in exchanges with poachers.

ZimParks conservation director Arthur Musakwa said elephant and rhino poaching was on rise.

“It is only by working together as conservationists throughout the world that we can achieve the protection of our God-given natural heritage for the benefit of current and future generations,” he said.

“It, thus, calls for concerted efforts with a unity of purpose to ensure that conservation goal is attained.

“Conservation efforts are being seriously affected by poaching, which is mainly targeting key species such as elephants and rhinos.”

Musakwa said wildlife preservation were meant for future generations, adding that Zimbabwe had the second largest elephant population in the world.

“We want to promote diversity. These wildlife resources are not ours alone to benefit from, but they also belong to our future generations,” he said.

“We should, therefore, use our resources sustainably so that we can share it with our descendants, so let us use these resources, while listening to the voices of the unborn children, who would also want to enjoy the same benefits that we are enjoying today.”