Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers will not hesitate to shoot and kill poachers, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has said. She was speaking at a pass out parade for rangers and dog handlers in Hwange recently. Some poachers have become sophisticated and make use of guns and poison to kill animals like elephants. “Matabeleland North Province is home to our biggest national park,” she said.
“Hwange National Park, is our biggest national park in the country covering approximately 14 605 square kilometres in the area. “The Hwange-Matetsi Complex is home to several important wildlife species including the Big Five, that is, the elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino.
“Due to Hwange National Park’s magnitude of wildlife diversity, poachers are attracted to rob our nation of its wildlife heritage. These poachers have become so daring to the extent of using sophisticated methods such as poisoning of our elephants in search of their raw ivory in great demand on the black market.
“Let me at this juncture reiterate that wildlife crime is a serious issue and as such our rangers will not hesitate to shoot and kill those found on the wrong side of the law.” Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said there was need for collective efforts by stakeholders if poaching was to be curbed.
“Eradication of wildlife crime requires collaborative efforts both locally, regionally and internationally,” she said.
“Imposition of tougher legal penalties on perpetrators, constant educational programmes to the public on the effects of poaching on the health of ecosystems are a necessity if the war on poachers is to be won. I am, therefore, appealing to all stakeholders comprising of the judiciary, police, Zimbabwe National Army, Environmental Management Agency, Forestry Commission, the traditional leadership, Government departments, intelligence units, corporate bodies, regional and international counterparts, non-governmental organisations and the public at large to join hands with us in the fight against wildlife crime.”