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Wildlife: Zimparks winning war against poaching, official says

Over the last five years, 22 poachers have been killed in armed encounters with anti-poaching teams across Zimbabwe’s wildlife sanctuaries, with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) emphasising its resolve to ensure zero poaching and maximum protection of wildlife in national parks.

More than 4 000 arrests were effected over the same five years, amid soaring success in combating poaching of wildlife in the country, especially in the elephant-rich Hwange National Park.

Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo, said the authority would intensify its zero tolerance to poaching in Zimbabwe’s wildlife habitats, warning that armed people would not be countenanced near protected wildlife areas.

Mr Farawo said foreigners were among those killed in armed confrontation with Zimparks anti-poaching teams.

‘’Since 2019, we have recorded 111 armed contacts with poachers across the country’s game parks and protected areas and out of that we had 18 deaths of local poachers and four fatalities of poachers from other countries,’’ said Mr Farawo.

‘’During the same period we managed to make 4000 arrests of poachers out of which 152 were foreigners and we will continue to work with our partners such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the country’s judiciary to ensure we achieve our goal of completely eradicating poaching in the country.’’

Zimparks was happy with some successes scored to combat poaching to date especially in the Hwange-Matetsi block in north-west Matabeleland centred on Hwange National Park where he said not a single incident of poaching of ‘’high value elephants has been recorded since the year 2021’’.

‘’We are working closely with the police and the judiciary to achieve our goal of zero poaching and I want to reiterate and warn members of the public to make sure they are not found in protected areas while armed.’’

Zimparks also managed to recover nearly 700 pieces of ivory during the onslaught against poachers over the last five years.

‘’We recovered 696 pieces of ivory over the past five years during our anti-poaching operations on top of 669 rounds of ammunition that we also also managed to recover during the same period . . . we also recovered 94 rifles.’’


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