Harare – Zimbabwe
Stakeholders in wildlife conservation have set up a national committee on rhino protection to curb poaching and come up with an emergency action plan to raise awareness on poaching of the endangered species in the country.
The committee, which includes the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority as well as various non-governmental organisations, will help in seeking funds to increase anti-poaching programmes for other endangered animals that are increasingly under threat from international poachers.
In an interview yesterday, the authority’s spokesperson Retired Major Edward Mbewe said the move was meant to halt the rise in cases of poaching in the country. He said the authority intended to increase anti-poaching patrols through the deployment of more rangers at border posts and improve surveillance in wildlife sanctuaries this year. “We are looking at strategies to deal with increases in rhino poaching. As a result, a committee will be working with conservancy owners and A2 farmers covering areas such as Matabeleland South, Sinamatela in Hwange, West Nicholson and Chiredzi where poaching is rife. “The committee will also incorporate strategies to curb the poaching of zebras. To control the export of wildlife products, Parks will deploy officers at the country’s border posts such as Beitbridge, Plumtree, Nyamapanda, among others, to monitor exports,” he said.
Rtd Maj Mbewe said those caught without proper papers would be arrested and dealt with at the border posts unlike previously when such cases were taken to major towns. Anti-poaching units will be dealing with peculiar problems in different areas and a central database will be created to assist the smooth flow of information among stakeholders. There has also been an upsurge in the poaching of animals that provide skins for export.
The authority is also intensifying awareness and education systems among people living near and within wildlife zones on the need to report any suspects to the authorities. Poachers have also resorted to killing animals in private conservancies where the law does not authorise guards to use firearms.
AllAfrica.com (Posted to the web 9 April 2008 – http://allafrica.com/stories/200804090130.html)