Three rhino poachers were on Monday morning reportedly killed in a shoot-out with Bubye Valley Conservancy scouts and Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers along the Zambezi Valley.
By Nhau Mangirazi
The poachers allegedly opened fire on the rangers and scouts who retaliated, fatally shooting three of them.
Rangers recovered ammunition, including a 30.06 rifle, among other paraphernalia.
ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident
“This is a strong warning to poachers who are decimating the natural treasure we are trying to protect as a nation. Loss of human life is regrettable, but we are not happy about how poachers are wreaking havoc in our preserved areas. It is our duty to protect animals,” Farawo told NewsDay.
This brings to nine poachers killed this year alone, while one was paralysed by gun shots and the other arrested.
“As ZimParks, we are living to our motto of living in harmony with nature, but whoever goes astray in national parks zones, which are protected areas, we will not hesitate to shoot to kill as we are protecting endangered species,” Farawo said.
He revealed that the anti-poaching effort was gaining momentum as only 12 elephants had been poached this year from the 500 in previous years.
“Unlike the previous years where we had over 500 elephants killed, only 12 have been poached this year, marking a sharp decline in poaching, which is a positive move, thanks to ZimParks leadership under director general Fullton Mangwanya and his team,” Farawo added.
Bubye Valley has the largest concentration of rhinos in Zimbabwe, and its scouts have recently overhauled their anti-poaching operations working closely with ZimParks, among other stakeholders.