Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Poachers kill 20 rhinos in Zim

Poachers kill 20 rhinos in Zim

by Tobias Manyuchi     Friday 12 November 2010

HARARE — Armed poaching syndicates have stepped up activities in the
southern African region killing 20 rhinos in Zimbabwe so far this year
despite increased operations to curb illegal hunting, National Parks and
Wildlife Management director Vitalis Chadenga said on Thursday.

Chadenga said poaching gangs – that killed 42 rhinos last year — were most
active in Zimbabwe and neighbouring South Africa, which are among four
countries in the world that still have significant populations of rhinos.
The other two are Kenya and Namibia.

“Rhino poaching has become a region-wide problem, with poachers targeting
South Africa, Zimbabwe and other southern African countries,” Chadenga said.

South Africa has so far this year lost more than 150 rhinos to poachers said
Chadenga, who added that the illegal hunters had become more sophisticated
over the years, and were in some cases using aircraft to hunt animals.

He said his department has intensified patrols to curb poaching, while also
calling for regional governments to coordinate anti-poaching operations to
ensure success

Chadenga said a taskforce comprising Zimbabwean police, army, wildlife
investigators and police units from neighboring countries as well
representatives from Interpol has launched investigations into operations of
tightly-knit poaching syndicates.

Rhinos are mainly poached for their horns that are suspected to have
aphrodisiac and medicinal qualities that include curing cancer, fevers and
enhancing sexual drive.

The main markets for rhino horns are in Asia.

Southern African countries have begun de-horning rhinos over the years in an
effort to discourage poaching.

Chadenga’s department that is in charge of wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe
has found it hard to contain poaching in national parks especially after
landless villagers began invading – with the government’s tacit approval –
white-owned farms and game conservancies 10 years ago.

There have also been widespread reports of illegal and uncontrolled trophy
hunting on former white-owned conservancies now controlled by powerful
government officials and members of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.

The government however denies that politicians are illegally hunting game
and insists it still has poaching under control.  – ZimOnline


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