Zimbabwean authorities on Wednesday arrested four foreigners at Chirundu for smuggling 25 monkeys from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Two Congolese nationals, a Malawian and a Zambian were intercepted by Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) officials with the assistance of the police.
The suspects are in custody and are believed to have been transporting the monkeys to South Africa.
The smuggled monkeys are a rare species — only peculiar to DRC, and were being transported in a closed truck.
ZimParks is taking care of the monkeys and will soon be repatriated to DRC.
“We intercepted monkeys that were being smuggled from DRC and their destination was possibly South Africa.
“Four foreigners, two Congolese, a Malawian and a Zambian have been arrested in connection with the crime. They appeared before a Karoi Magistrate and were remanded in custody,” said ZimParks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo.
“We are nursing them and we are keeping them in cages. We are giving them food and fruits that were sourced from well-wishers. They are suffering from stress because of travelling,” he said.
ZimParks intended to give them medications and was still assessing the primates’ condition before repatriating them.
“We are in communication with authorities there,” said Mr Farawo.
Meanwhile, three people were killed this week by animals, two by elephants and the other by a crocodile.
Another person is recovering from injuries suffered in a leopard attack.
“Two people, one in Chirundu and the other one in Binga were attacked and killed by elephants. In Kariba, there is a person who was attacked and killed by a crocodile. In Makuti, a child is recovering from a leopard attack,” said Mr Farawo.
“The elephants are overpopulated and they are causing a lot of problems to our communities and our people must benefit from these elephants.”