Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Poachers gun down rhino

Poachers gun down rhino

Daily News 21 May 2011

Oscar Nkala

Poachers armed with AK$& rifles last week gunned down a black rhino in the Intensive Conservation Area around the Sinamatela range of the Hwange national Park and engaged parks rangers in a fierce gun battle before fleeing the scene without their booty.

Although the horn was recovered, no arrests have been made so far.

Matabeleland North provincial police deputy officer commanding Assistant Commissioner Musarashana Mabunda said the poachers abandoned an axe and a loaded AK 47 rifle before fleeing the scene without dehorning the animal.

“There has been an increase in gun crimes such as stock theft, armed robbery of service stations and lodges all along the Zambezi River and big game poaching is a big problem in the safari areas,” said Mabunda.

The Sinamatela killing is the second rhino slaughter to hit Zimbabwean game sanctuaries within a month following the death of the de-horned Save Conservancy Valley rhino that was shot five times but regained consciousness after the poachers had de-stumped and left it for dead.

Fourteen rhinos have been gunned down by poachers in game sanctuaries across Zimbabwe since the beginning of the year. South Africa, which has lost nearly 400 rhinos since the beginning of the year, has declared poaching a national emergency and deployed its armed forces to crack down on the Kruger National Sanctuary and other syndicate-poaching infested game sanctuaries along the border with Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Although poaching persists, the army’s anti-poaching operations have netted several Mozambican and South African syndicates who were operating in the greater Kruger zone. Armed forces chiefs say intelligence gathered from arrested poachers is helping the force in turning the tide against the poaching syndicates.

No comment could be obtained from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.


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