By REX MPHISA
ZIMBABWE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers this week shot dead three suspected poachers and launched a probe into recurring cases of rhino poaching in the Bubye Valley Conservancy.
In an interview yesterday, ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo (pictured) also said four poachers had been arrested for possession of elephant tusks in the Hwange National Park.
“Today, three poachers have been shot dead, it’s unfortunate, but we shoot to kill. How do you arrest a man with a gun without him killing you? Our policy is
shoot to kill,” he said.
“We have been losing rhinos at an alarming rate, but we are now on top of the situation.”
Farawo further noted that his organisation was gaining ground against poachers, courtesy of assistance from other stakeholders and a new fleet of vehicles.
“We were losing rhinos at an alarming rate, but we have taken the fight to the poachers of late and we attribute this to new management,” he said.
“We are also investigating a possibility of an inside job being attributed to the Bubye Valley Conservancy and details will soon be out.
“From the time new management took over to date, 10 poachers have been killed. It’s unfortunate, but that is what it is, we have been losing animals.”
There is increased cross-border co-operation with neighbouring countries, he said, with joint patrols being done in four of the six transfrontier parks
Zimbabwe shares with its neighbours.
Poachers believed to be cashing in on the lucrative Asian markets have intensified activities, with reports of them using pesticides in Sadc countries abound.
On hippos that killed a soldier in Beitbridge, Farawo said the policy was to put down problem animals, but warmed people against venturing into animal zones.
A Zimbabwe National Army serviceman Pelious Moyo from Tongwe was recently attacked a few metres from an army checkpoint at the Alfred Beit Bridge.
“We will intensify awareness campaigns. We have got a problem that both the human and animal population has increased twenty-fold from the year 1900 and the
conflict for space has increased.
“People should be cautious, it’s either crocodile or hippo attacks. The ecological carrying capacity of wildlife is suppressed.”