Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Everson Mushava


Daily News 6 July 2011

Wildlife officials, politicians and police officers were forced to abandon an anti-poaching meeting at Mapare Resort Centre in Save Valley Conservancy recently after poachers gunned down a rhino right under their noses.

Highlighting how serious the problem of poaching is, the group had to scurry into the conservancy after hearing shots by poachers as they were just about to start their meeting, according to Edmore Marima, the Bikita East MP who witnessed the drama.

“We were about to start a meeting on anti-poaching when we heard gunshots in the range. The police rushed there only to find a de-horned carcass of a rhino.

“We heard they saw the two poachers, one in army uniform with the horn but failed to apprehend them because they were heavily armed,” said Marima.

Marima is the owner of Mapare Resort Centre and was part of the aborted meeting.

Five police officers who were part of the meeting took the lead in the unsuccessful hunt for the poachers, the MP said.

“This is not the first time.

Sometime last year, poachers shot three rhinos in the same area and thereafter, poaching in the area had increased.

“That is why the police had organised the meeting to find out how they can deal with the problem,” said Marima.

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority public relations manager Caroline Washaya-Moyo said she was unaware of the killing and promised to verify the information a week ago. She had not done so by the time of going to print last night.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

Poaching has been on the increase with reports suggesting that only 400 rhinos remained out of 1000 two years ago.

Around 120 rhinos have been killed since March last year, according to Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force member Jonny Johnny Rodrigues.

He says rhino horns are finding their way into the Chinese black market.

A rhino horn is worth as much as 60 000 British pounds in the Middle East and China where it is also regarded as a sexual stimulant, according to reports.


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