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Tighter laws, dehorning, stockpiling, the might of China, and more. There’s a whole lot going on in the world of rhinos.

By Editorial, Uncategorized

Over the past few weeks or so, there has been a lot of activity around rhinos. This has been especially so in the southern countries of Africa, where populations of these horned wonders are concentrated. New trade regulations have been published in South Africa, Zimbabwe has withdrawn its threat to leave the CITES treaty, the rate of rhino dehorning seems to be accelerating, and some private rhino owners are shedding their stock while others are buying. What are the reasons behind all of this, and are there any common threads?

Earlier this month, Barbara Creecy, the South African minister responsible for environmental matters, announced that she was tightening up on the provisions around the domestic trade in rhino horn. (Since 2017, it has been legal to trade rhino horn in South Africa, but not for the horn to leave the country except as trophies. And even then only on condition that the horn is not sold on to a third party.)

The new provisions to the biodiversity act close some crucial loopholes. Now no one is allowed to grind horn into a powder, make chips or slivers of horn, or remove parts or layers of a horn. The only exceptions are those fragments arising when a horn is microchipped, a rhino is dehorned, a tracking device is inserted into a horn, or when samples are needed for genetic profiling and scientific purposes. The paperwork required for any domestic sale of horn is set out in detail in the new regulations. Importantly, it is now made clear that the law covers all rhinos found in South Africa: the White Rhino and all three subspecies of Black Rhino.

These new rules come hard on the heels of the conviction of two men found to have illegally possessed and transported 181 rhino horns last year. The event raised more than a few eyebrows given that the guilty parties were moving the horns on behalf of the owner who had, in turn, bought them from John Hume, the country’s most prominent rhino farmer. The horns were allegedly bound for Asian markets.

Hume initially demanded the return of the confiscated horns as he claimed they were still his given that he had not been paid for them. Since then, he has “temporarily” withdrawn the demand. Quite frankly, the whole affair is a mess. It is a perfect example of why domestic trade should not have been allowed in the first place. It lends itself to rhino horns being moved from person to person until, in the end, no one knows where they are. A real-life version of the classic three-card “Find the Lady” trick if ever there was one.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s northern neighbor, Zimbabwe, says that it will stay within the international CITES treaty set up in 1975 to monitor the trade in endangered wildlife species. Zimbabwe, along with others in the SADC bloc, would like to sell stockpiled rhino horn and ivory to consumer countries, but the proposals to do so were roundly stymied at the most recent CITES conference of the parties. The pro traders were incensed, and this led to mutterings about withdrawing from the agreement.

Zimbabwe’s turnabout, however, comes not from a change of heart but ironically from a bit of realpolitik in action. Principal horn and ivory consumer countries in the East, notably China and Japan, have said that they have no intention of leaving CITES. And without their cooperation, any sales Zimbabwe had in mind cannot take place in terms of international law. Significantly, China is the biggest buyer of Zimbabwean tobacco and is the focus of the African country’s Look East Policy. So perhaps it is wise that they don’t poke the giant panda.

Back in South Africa, where around half the country’s White Rhinos are in private ownership, a new study shows that 28 percent of private rhino owners are disinvesting. Perhaps this was predictable. The collapse of tourism in the wake of Covid-19, coupled with the CITES ban on trade in horn, has undoubtedly created a severe strain on owners’ cash flows. It shows the underlying dangers of over-commoditizing wildlife—as with any stock that doesn’t perform, rhinos will get dumped when the market doesn’t live up to expectation. Interestingly, though, some rhino investors are buying. Presumably, they have enough long-term confidence to make acquisitions at low prices and to ride out the storm.

Finally, there is a lot of dehorning going on in the region, in both the private and the state sectors. The reason given is that the dehorning exercise will combat poaching and safeguard the future of this species. Fair enough, but my worry is that there is nowhere for the harvested horn to go other than into private and state stockpiles. And as these troves grow, so they will become progressively more irresistible—an Aladdin’s Cave waiting to be plundered and then laundered into the illegal trade. Call me cynical, but given the systemic corruption in almost all African states, it will happen.

The only safety net against this would be regular and independent audits of all stockpiles in every range state. And there’s about as much chance of that happening as Donald Trump reinstating Obamacare.

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Zimbabwe won’t pull out of CITES

By Conservation
By Bulawayo24News | June 22, 2020

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ZIMBABWE will not pull out of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in order to sell its stockpile of ivory tasks worth US$600 million, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mangaliso Ndlovu, has said.

It has been 12 years since the country had an ivory sale because of CITES restrictions. CITES is an international agreement between Governments whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Last year, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia made fresh appeals for the global watchdog to lift restrictive measures on the trade in raw ivory.

Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday, Minister Ndlovu said pulling out of CITES was a tough proposition given the fact that the countries Zimbabwe traded in ivory with were also reluctant to leave the organisation. Zimbabwe has 130 tonnes of elephant ivory stock piles and about five tonnes of rhino horns in its vault.

“There is a question on whether or not we should continue respecting the provisions of CITES which restrict us from selling our tusks. Related to that were other questions on whether or not we should continue being a member of CITES, why not pull out and be able to sell our tusks. It must be emphasised to this House that our markets for our tusks are members of CITES.

“You can only sell to a member of CITES subject to the provisions of CITES. Should we pull out of CITES, it means we cannot sell to those who are members of CITES. We are therefore taking ourselves out of the market for our tusks. Major markets are Japan and China and are not willing to pull out of CITES. If they were willing, we would have pulled out together with them, then we would be able to trade outside the provisions of CITES. So, it is an important consideration that we have made,” he said.

Minister Ndlovu said while countries in the Sadc bloc had lodged a complaint against CITES regulations, they were unable to effect change because the countries they trade with did not do the same.

“However, CITES has a provision within its regulations that should there be a change in any of the regulations within a specified period, a member country can place a reservation, which reservation will allow the country to trade with that particular species or product outside the provisions of CITES. We lodged our displeasure at CITES during the conference and after the conference we agreed as Sadc that we are lodging a reservation with regards to elephants and we duly submitted that to CITES. Having done so Mr Speaker Sir, we remain constrained by the fact that our markets are members of CITES and they have not lodged reservations to the same. So yes, we have fully demonstrated our displeasure but we have not unlocked the markets for our tusks. That is the dilemma or crisis that we are facing with this,” he said.

Wildlife at risk as hunger encircles Kruger Park

By Conservation
Ed Stoddard, The Daily Maverick | May 20, 2020

Read the original story here.

The US government, even under Donald Trump, still has some socially useful global services.

One is the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet), an arm of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). A glance at its “Acute Food Insecurity” map reveals an arresting pattern.

A huge swathe of Mozambique, including the border areas with the Kruger Park, are shaded orange. That represents the “crisis” level of hunger. The next level is “emergency” followed by “famine”. The map of Zimbabwe is also sprinkled orange, with a big chunk on or near the Kruger’s northern border. (See map)

Most of southern Africa, including South Africa, is shaded white, which means hunger stress is minimal. That is highly questionable – a plethora of reports shows that many people in this country are hungry and even starving. And among those worst-affected are the millions of South Africans who have been thrown out of work because of the lockdown measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Fewsnet map does not capture this, but many of the communities that border Kruger on the south and west – the South African sides – rely heavily on the tourism sector. And that has utterly collapsed. Some of the jobs in the sector are skilled and pay relatively good wages. But the sector is also labour-intensive, and like most such industries in South Africa, many of the jobs it has sustained are low-wage domestic work.

This means that many of the people in the industry who have lost their jobs were not exactly living high on the hog and they in turn often support a large number of dependants through extended family networks in a region with sky-high unemployment.

There is no data on exactly how many people have lost work in the areas around the park. Farming is also an important employer in the region – sugar cane, bananas, avocados and citrus are among the crops grown there – and agriculture is an “essential service”.

But farmworkers’ wages are also generally low, so it is not much of a social safety net. And in 2019, Limpopo, according to Stats SA, had the highest headcount of adult poverty in all provinces, at 67.5%. That has surely risen dramatically in recent weeks, and would include communities around the Kruger.

In short, the park is being encircled by human misery and hunger. That is simply a fact, and a rather stark one with fairly predictable consequences.

In December 2018, this correspondent visited Kruger on a media trip for another publication. With the rhino population in decline after a decade of relentless poaching to meet Asian demand for the species’ horns, a new wave of illicit hunting was sweeping the park: the use of snares to feed an emerging market in bushmeat and muti.

Glenn Phillips, the Kruger’s managing executive, told me at the time that there was a rapidly growing bushmeat and muti trade linked to poverty. According to the latest census data, two million people live on the park’s western boundary and the unemployment rate in the area is between 40 and 60% – a rate which has unquestionably surged in recent months.

In 2014, around 180 snares were collected in the southwest boundary area of the park. In 2018, that number had soared to 1,600 – an almost tenfold increase which even more intensive monitoring could not possibly account for.

Original photo as published by the Daily Maverick. Staff of Mozambican anti-poaching authorities stand in a line ahead of a demonstration for journalists at the Limpopo National Park, just across the Kruger National Park, Gaza Province, Mozambique, 07 March 2016. (Photo: EPA/SHIRAAZ MOHAMED)

SANParks has not yet responded to Daily Maverick queries regarding the current poaching situation. The lockdown is no doubt throwing some obstacles in the way of poaching networks, which are often linked to organised crime. But given the trend, it seems likely that the demand for bushmeat must be growing along with the number of people desperate enough to turn to poaching.

“The impact of the pandemic on protected areas is already severe. And the communities around them are threatened with an economic catastrophe as Covid-19 wipes out local economies, tourism, and conservation jobs and benefits. I think we’re likely to see sharp increases in bushmeat poaching and snaring. Poaching of high-value species could also increase as lockdowns ease and new and well-trodden smuggling routes reopen,” Julian Rademeyer, the East and Southern Africa director for the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, told Daily Maverick.

The Kruger, it must be said, has always been surrounded by poverty – ecotourism only goes so far as a job and income generator. It is like an island in a sea of poverty, which is clearly one of the reasons why it has been such a magnet for poaching.

Original photo as published by the Daily Maverick. Nkwe Security staff conduct a patrol by open Land Rover for rhinos and potential poaching threats on a game farm in the Waterberg district, some 350km north-west of Johannesburg, South Africa, 09 September 2010. (Photo: EPA/JON HRUSA)

Untold numbers of Mozambicans have also tried to seek economic opportunity in the continent’s most advanced economy by crossing the Kruger on foot – a huge risk that underscores the depths of poverty in the region. There is no accurate data on how many have perished in the attempt.

One person who has tried is US journalist Robert Frump. In his book The Man-Eaters of Eden, he came to a rough tally of the number of refugees killed by lions in the park, based on estimates of refugee traffic through Kruger and a lion kill rate of 1%. He calculated Kruger lions had killed and consumed 13,380 Mozambicans between 1960 and 2005. That is ultimately a thumb-suck and experts in the field have questioned its methodology. But as hunger grows in Mozambique, a swelling number of desperate people may well be taking this trek through a deadly faunal gauntlet.

Kruger is like an island in other ways as well. It is a fragment of wildlife habitat – one about the size of Israel – which is its chief draw as a tourist attraction. And wildlife at the moment is well down on the list of priorities as the social and human health needs triggered by the pandemic and lockdown mushroom.

Many affluent people might well recoil in horror at the prospect of an upsurge in poaching in the park from already elevated levels. The park’s rangers, who include in their ranks many gallant and courageous individuals, are no doubt doing what they can to stem the tide. But the focus will and must be on addressing the hunger that is stalking the park’s boundaries.

This is all part and parcel of a wider crisis in animal welfare and conservation that is unfolding on the world’s poorest continent. Business Maverick has already reported that South Africa’s once-thriving game farming industry is under unprecedented pressure because its sources of revenue – hunting, tourism and sales – have evaporated since March.

Across Africa, Kruger will not be the only island of wildlife habitat in a sea of growing human suffering. I spoke to Craig Parker, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota, about the issue. His focus is lion conservation – he is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority on the big cats.

“Until three or four months ago, I felt that the best hope for lion conservation was large scale ‘eco philanthropy’ as well as significant institutional support from the World Bank and similar global financial institutions. The scale of the problem is huge and cannot be achieved from ecotourism alone. But my worldview has been shattered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Wildlife tourism is gone this year and maybe the next, and the World Bank will have to respond to the enormous economic challenges facing every country on earth. Meanwhile, food supplies face major disruptions and many local communities will be looking to survive on whatever they can capture in the bush. And afterwards, we don’t know how willing the global community will be to devote resources to African wildlife,” Packer told me.

It is an old cliche in some conservation and development circles that “wildlife must pay for itself” in Africa. What happens when there is no one to write the cheque?

Zim gazettes laws to protect animals

By Antipoaching, Conservation
Sifelani Tsiko, The Herald | April 3, 2020

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Zimbabwe has promulgated new regulations to protect endangered animal species and curb illegal wildlife trade in animal and animal products.

The Government gazetted SI 72 of 2020 and SI 71 of 2020 recently as part of efforts to strengthen the Parks and Wild Life Act to deal with poaching and the illegal trafficking of endangered species that include pangolins, that have emerged as one of the most trafficked mammals in the country.

These regulations were cited as the Parks and Wild Life (Specially Protected Animals) regulations of 2020.

The list of the Specially Protected Animals include the Aardwolf (mbizimumwena in Shona or Inthuhu in Ndebele), bat-eared fox, cheetah, gemsbok, pangolin, rhinos, roan, wild or hunting dogs and the Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest (a rare type of antelope).

Original photo as published by The Herald

“These are part of new measures to protect our endangered animals which include pangolins, which are one of the most trafficked animals,” said Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo.

“The regulations seek to strengthen existing laws in the fight against poaching and the illegal trafficking of endangered animals.

“Pangolins are the most threatened and the laws are part of our new regulations to help prevent, detect and penalise wildlife crimes.”

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a leading organisation in wildlife conservation and endangered species, trade in the elusive pangolin mammals is now staggering with an estimated 1 million pangolins trafficked over the last decade.

The global animal agency reports that more than 195,000 pangolins were trafficked in 2019 alone.

Zimbabwe is moving to strengthen its legal frameworks to prevent and address the illegal harvest and trade of wildlife species. Zimbabwe and most other African countries are facing an unprecedented spike in poaching and illegal wildlife trade, which is threatening to decimate the continent’s rich wildlife resource base.

Poaching is threatening the survival of elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, lions, hippos and a whole list of other animals still found on the continent. Wildlife crime is now prevalent across Africa with a complex web of highly dangerous international networks.

Wildlife and animal parts are being trafficked to various parts of the world.

The poaching of elephants for ivory and other wild animals for their skins and bones has taken on new and deadly dimensions, with poachers using chemicals such as cyanide to poison wildlife.

Countless other species such as turtles, pangolins, snakes and other wild plants and animals are being caught or harvested from the wild and then sold to buyers who make food, pets, ornamental plants, leather, tourist ornaments and medicine.

Tusk Trust, a wildlife organisation, reports that 100,000 elephants were killed in the past few years, leaving a population of about 400,000 — half what it was more than two-and-half decades ago.

Rampant poaching in the sub-Saharan range has resulted in the deaths of 100,000 elephants from 2011 to 2013, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Tanzania’s elephant population plummeted by 60 percent to 43,330 in the five years ending in 2014, according to the Great Elephant Census, carried out by a coalition of wildlife groups, while Mozambique lost half its elephants in the same period, falling to 10,300.

Wildlife campaigners say the statistics “underscore the toxic mix of determined criminal gangs, corrupt Government officials and a strong market for smuggled ivory in Asia — particularly in China — which has deepened its economic ties to Africa in recent years.”

More than 300 elephants have been killed due to cyanide poisoning since 2013 as Zimbabwe continues to battle with the worrying scourge of poaching which is threatening the country’s wildlife heritage.

A total of 59 people have been arrested for poaching by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZIMPARKS) as from January this year to date.

Of the 59, nine have since appeared in court and sentenced to 9 years in prison.

Cyanide poisoning is the deadliest tactic used by poachers who place salt laced with cyanide near wildlife watering holes. The chemical kills the body’s cells by starving them of oxygen.

In mammals, the poison is most harmful to the heart and brain — organs that depend heavily on oxygen supplies.

Elephants die no more than 100m from where they drank poisoned water or used salt licks drenched in cyanide.


100,000 children stand against wildlife crime

By Antipoaching, Conservation, Education, Land conservation, Volunteering
Sifelani Tsiko, The Herald
February 18, 2020

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About 100,000 children in and around the national parks of Gonarezhou in Zimbabwe and Limpopo in Mozambique are being educated through the Peace and Changemaker Generation project to appreciate wildlife conservation efforts and to take a stand against wildlife crime.

The project also promotes girls’ rights in their communities as part of wider efforts to strengthen the two countries’ efforts to combat wildlife trafficking.

The project is a partnership between the World Children’s Prize Foundation and Peace Parks Foundation and is implemented in Zimbabwe by Shamwari Yemwanasikana, Gonarezhou Conservation Trust and Chilojo Club, in conjunction with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

This may be the first time that all children in a vast, but defined area are reached in order to contribute in the long-term to increased respect for children’s rights in their communities, and to the protection of wildlife and nature. The project is being carried out in communities in Zimbabwe and Mozambique living in or adjacent to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area.

At least 2,000 children will be trained as Peace and Changemaker Generation ambassadors, together with 700 teachers and school leaders. Parents and local leaders would also be educated. These project ambassadors and teachers will educate all 100,000 children, in about 350 schools, about child rights, global goals for sustainable development, as well as the consequences of wildlife crime and climate change for their communities.


The national parks, Gonarezhou in Zimbabwe, and Limpopo in Mozambique, are rich in animal life and biodiversity that are continuously threatened by organised crime, poaching and trafficking of products such as rhino horn and elephant tusks; loss of natural habitat; drought; and climate change.

Both ecosystems and animals are endangered. There is not a single rhino left in the area. Many children live in poverty and face violations of their rights. Girls are especially vulnerable, but boys are also affected.

Paulo from Mozambique, now 16, was told to quit school at 13 to become a poacher: “It felt pointless carrying on at school, because there aren’t any jobs here anyway. But I’ve had enough,” he said.

“Poaching is not only illegal; it is also very dangerous. Poachers and rangers are getting killed in South Africa and Mozambique.”

Twelve-year-old Ronaldo from Mozambique lost his father when he was shot to death by park rangers in South Africa. “It’s wrong to kill animals, they are innocent. I wish my dad had done something different, but he did it because we are poor,” says Ronaldo.

Girls in the areas are especially vulnerable, and child marriage is common.

Blessing (15) from Zimbabwe was badly affected when her father gave up poaching after the number of park rangers increased. “It means I can’t go to school anymore, because we cannot afford to pay my school fees. Now I’m afraid that I will be married off,” says Blessing, having seen many of her peers, and younger girls, being forced to marry.

“Even though I had to leave school when my dad gave up poaching, I want to become a park ranger. Our wild animals are worth more alive than dead,” says Blessing.

Blessing, Paulo, Ronaldo and 100,000 other children in Zimbabwe and Mozambique are now taking part in the project, through which they will learn to stand up for their rights and make a change for a better future.

In addition, through the World Children’s Prize Programme, two million children in other countries will learn about the children in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, wildlife and protected areas, and how a new generation of children can make a change for the better.


Poisoned fish on sale in Chikuti, police warn

By Conservation, Education
Victor Maphosa, Nehanda Radio
February 18, 2020

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Fish poisoned with cyanide are being sold along the Harare-Chirundu highway near Chikuti and police are concerned that vendors in other areas might be selling the fish.

National Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said some people in Chikuti, near Karoi, were selling poisoned fish after a nearby river was contaminated with cyanide. Investigations are underway to find out where the cyanide came from.

“Police and Environmental Management Agency officers are already on the ground investigating the source of the poison. We cannot rule out the possibility that the poisoned fish have already found their way into Karoi, Chinhoyi and other areas. We are appealing to the public to only buy fish from trusted sources.”


Meanwhile, police have arrested Thinkmore Midzi (75), Ncobizitha Dube (34) and Wenzile Midzi (25) who entered the Bubye Conservancy for suspected rhino poaching.

“Three men have been arrested in Bubye Conservancy after they were tracked down. The men had a pesticide which they intended to use on some rhinos, which are protected species,” Asst Comm Nyathi confirmed.

“On February 9, authorities received information that the three had entered the conservancy illegally and there were suspicions that they were poachers. A tracking team was dispatched from Zimparks and they managed to capture them and quickly alerted the police.’’

White baby rhino discovered in Nairobi National Park (Kenya)

By Conservation
Akello Odenyo, The Star | February 17, 2020

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Kenya Wildlife has discovered a new southern white rhino at the Nairobi National Park. The baby rhino, suspected to be three days old, was spotted grazing with its mother on Saturday.

KWS broke the good news on twitter saying ‘new kid on the block’.

“We are thrilled to report the birth of a white rhino in Nairobi National Park.The lucky mother rhino had gone into hiding from hawk-eyed rangers only for her to resurface today with a three-day-old calf. Welcome to the family baby rhino,” KWS said.

KWS officers are yet to determine the sex of the baby rhino, saying that capturing to examine it would be unnecessarily intrusive and stressful to both mother and newborn.

Original photo as published by The Star: The new baby, 3 days old, was spotted grazing with its mother.

The southern white rhino or southern square-lipped rhino, is one of the two subspecies of the white rhinoceros. It is the most common and widespread subspecies of rhinoceros. Unlike its critically endangered and nearly extinct northern rhino subspecies, the southern rhino population is increasing.

Southern white rhino population has grown from fewer than 50 individuals in the early 1900s to roughly 18,000 today.

Northern White Rhino was thought to be doomed forever when Sudan, the planet’s last male, died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in March 2018. He was survived only by Najin, 30 and her daughter Fatu, who live under 24 hour armed guard in the same conservancy but are both unable to become pregnant.

Sudan was one of only eight northern white rhinos left alive on the planet after poaching greatly reduced their numbers.

The international consortium of scientists in an attempt to preserve the species harvested and froze sperms from four deceased males and took 10 eggs from females to continue the lineage of the northern white rhino. The embryos would be implanted in the wombs of southern white rhinos, a closely related subspecies still found in large numbers in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Even though they were excited about the discovery, Kenyans expressed the safety concern for the new baby.

“Hopefully, the baby rhino will not die in your hands,” said Paul Emile on Twitter. They also suggested names for the baby including Moi, Valentine, Musale, Kimueriet, Zuru among others.

Rhino ‘poacher’ shot dead (Zimbabwe)

By Antipoaching
Natasha Adam, The Chronicle | February 10, 2020

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A suspected rhino poacher was recently shot dead during a shoot-out with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers at Save Valley Conservancy in Masvingo province.

ZimParks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said two other suspected poachers escaped.

Mr Farawo said the suspected rhino poachers were armed and ZimParks rangers managed to recover firearms at the scene. He described the incident which occurred on Monday last week as unfortunate.

The ZimParks spokesperson said the incident is still under police investigation and no arrests have been made yet. “It is unfortunate that one suspected poacher was shot dead in Save and two other suspected poachers managed to escape. We were able to recover a rifle that we suspect they were using, a silencer and four rounds of ammunition,” said Mr Farawo.

He said ZimParks had adopted zero tolerance to poaching.

Mr Farawo said on December 31 last year four ZimParks rangers were shot and killed during an exchange of fire with poachers in Kariba.

“We are on high alert. National parks are protected areas. They are no-go areas for illegal activities and poachers should be warned,” said Mr Farawo.

“It is difficult to arrest armed people so at the end of the day you have to fight fire with fire.”

Last month, three suspected poachers, among them a cop stationed at Bulawayo’s Pumula Police Station Nhlanhla Nkomo (43) appeared in court for allegedly poaching rhinos at Bubye Valley Conservancy outside Beitbridge.

Last year in May, two poachers were shot and killed during a shoot-out with rangers at Bubye Valley Conservancy. The two poachers who were armed with a rifle and an axe, had contact with rangers while tracking a rhino.


Poachers kill 2 white rhino in Harare Game Reserve (Zimbabwe)

By Antipoaching
Eyewitness News | February 2, 2020

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HARARE: It’s been confirmed that two white rhino have been killed by poachers at a private game reserve north of Harare that’s popular with diplomats and visiting business executives.

Earlier this week, poachers shot and killed a young rhino and made off with its two tiny horns. Another rhino was shot and wounded and later died.

Thetford Private Game Reserve posted a picture on its Facebook page of a funeral pyre it made for the two slain rhinos.

Original photo as published by EWN: Thetford Private Game Reserve posted a picture on its Facebook page of a funeral pyre it made for the two slain rhinos. (Picture: Thetford Private Game Reserve/Facebook.)

This isn’t the first tragedy of its kind to hit the reserve. Four years ago poachers shot and killed a 37-year-old white rhino in the park.

The reserve commended the work of what it called “very good people” in the police and parks authority who have already arrested seven people.

Alongside two rifles, the authorities also recovered the two tiny pieces of horn taken from the youngest of the rhino victims, which was only two and a half years old.


Nine poachers shot dead last year (Zimbabwe)

By Antipoaching
Zim Eye | January 26, 2020

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Nine poachers were shot dead in incidents of armed confrontation with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers with at least 280 arrests last year, amid an intensifying crackdown on poaching by authorities.

Statistics from the wildlife management authority show that over 288 suspected poachers were arrested in 2019, up from 70 apprehended in 2018. Owing to intensified patrols in conservancy areas, the number of recorded illegal incursions has fallen from 720 in 2016 to 301 last year.

Furthermore, the number of armed contacts between game rangers and suspected poachers has gone down from 35 in 2016 to just 12 last year.

In the four years between 2016 and 2019, a total 32 suspected poachers have been killed in armed confrontation with rangers.

During the period, authorities recovered 64 rifles, 485 rounds of ammunition and 264 elephant tusks.

ZimParks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo attributed the heightened war against poaching to joint patrols with other security stakeholders through transfrontier conservation areas.

“We are scaling up our anti-poaching activities throughout our conservation areas,” he said. “The fight against poaching is not an easy one, it is a collaborative effort which requires support not only from our communities, but our partners as well.

“We are not going to rest until sanity prevails. We are cautiously optimistic that our efforts to thwart this menace are bearing fruit as exhibited by the latest figures.

Mr Farawo said joint patrols were being held through the Okavango Zambezi TFCA, Greater Limpopo TFCA and the Greater Mapungubwe TFCA.

Figures show that 20 elephants were killed last year either through poisoning or gunshots, a marked decrease from the 400 jumbos killed in 2015. Also, 16 black and white rhinos were killed by poachers last year, down from 30 that were killed in 2016.

In 2013, poachers killed more than 300 elephants and countless other safari animals by cyanide poisoning inside Hwange National Park in an incident that sparked international outrage.

Conservationists described the incident as the worst single massacre of wildlife in southern Africa for 25 years.

Government has since ramped up anti-poaching activities with officials deploying latest technology such as drones in the fight against the menace.