16-year terms, US$600k restitution for Hwange poachers

elephantpoachingIsdore Guvamombe Features Editor—-
THREE of the eight poachers arrested for spawning the Hwange ecological disaster after poisoning water holes and salt pans with cyanide pellets killing over 87 elephants and an indeterminate number of other animals on the food chain were yesterday jailed for an effective 16 years each.

Hwange provincial magistrate Mrs Rosemary Dube yesterday sentenced Robert Maposa (42), Thabani Zondo (24) and Dedani Tshuma (25) to 16 years in prison each for illegal possession of ivory and contravening Section 73 (1) of the Environment Management Act that prohibits the possession and discharge of hazardous substances, chemicals, materials or oil into the environment.

Cyanide is a fast-acting poison that was stockpiled as a chemical weapon in the arsenals of both the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, and that requires up to a generation to bio-degrade on a large scale.

The cyanide has created an ecological disaster in the vast national park where animals are dying daily as the poisoning travels up the food chain. Maposa and Zondo were jailed for 15 years for illegal possession of ivory and another year for contravening the EMA Act.

They were further ordered to pay US$600 000 restitution to the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority by December 31.
Tshuma was sentenced to 16 years for illegal possession of ivory and was further ordered to pay US$200 000 by December 31. At least 87 elephants died of poisoning in Hwange National Park, Africa’s third largest wildlife sanctuary after Tanzania’s Serengeti and South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

Environment, Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere took to his twitter account to welcome the verdict, saying: “We welcome the bold stance by the Judiciary. Let’s protect and preserve our wildlife.’’

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority public relations manager Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the remaining five poachers would appear in court soon facing similar charges.

“We hail the sentence as very effective and deterrent. The other five poachers are expected to appear in court on October 4,’’ she said.

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  • zimbo

    Very good! This is cruel and in disregard to nature. Please keep fighting the fight and explore options of lacing rhino horn with red dye like what’s been done by some South African rangers. Here in SA they poach a rhino EVERY 9 hours! Report more on poaching Herald even the industry and who the buyers are

    Can you imagine? A species that has outlived the dinasaurs being finished off relentlessly by greedy people

  • Hwange BOYS

    Ah chete??? They Should have been given life in pirson for each elephant that died. Tinozviziva kuti maPoliticians are involved in this racket. Remember the ten elephants that were gunned down in Beitbridge a few years ago. i think this battle now needs to be fully millitarised other than that its far too little to stop the poaching

  • punungwe

    Yaaaa! Serves them right. I would have recommended 6 months in jail for every elephant that died to make it 44 years each.

    16 years is a bit on the low side but acceptable.

  • Garwe

    Good reporting

    • e chimps

      those poachers should be fed with that meat not with the taxpayers expense us no no no no

  • Mukombahasha

    Are these guys even capable of paying such fines, or will illegal assets and ivory be sold to recover the costs?
    Considering the ecological damage inflicted, the 16 year sentence is a reasonable deterrent, but could have been higher.

  • zimnam

    I cannot even bear watch this picture of the elephant … so cruel.

  • Mai vevanasikana

    Mastermind should get double that sentence….

  • Muzambiringa

    Kasi havana mutupo here vanhu ava? Basa kungodzvinyirira mhuka dzaMwari!

  • pfumo mafirakureva

    They should have been forced to eat the meat of the animals they killed so that they also die from the same poison

    • Jambanja paSalisbury


    • Mbeva

      I agree with you pfumo but these criminals should have not been jailed but killed because keeping them for the next 16yrs at the taxpayers expense is too much.

  • Catherine Marozhe

    this is too little, why have mercy on these merciless poacherS???????????????
    i thought they were going to spent at least life in prison!!!!!!

  • wezhira

    aah chete! they must be locked behind bars for good and throw cell keys in the pit latrine coz these criminals are killing the country tourism industry

  • wezhira

    i agree with u pfumo eye for an eye must be imposed they must be asked to drink the cynide and have their legs and hands amputeted before they collapse to death so they also realise the pain they caused to the God given animals

    • buzumi

      wezhira ichokwadi ichocho, vasafunga kuti denga vacharipinda, nyangwe zvichinzi raipindwa neback door hariwani. Havachemerwi kuti havana mhosva kufa chete ndokurinani

  • Mpongo

    What happened to the other poachers? 3 jailed and I do not see the name of Farai Chitsa anywhere yet he was initially reported as being the mastermind. Has he been shielded by the real mastermind behind the whole thing who is most probably a chef? No use arresting the pawns and leaving the mastermind as the poaching will just continue

  • Observer

    Are the poachers interested in elephat nose or tusks??????????? the pic has the tusks present ….may someone clarify this hulababooo???????????