Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
TWO poachers were yesterday shot dead at Hwange National Park after they opened fire near the Main camp.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said the deceased were both Zimbabweans.
In a statement, Zimparks spokesperson Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo said one of the poachers was from Nkayi, but they had not yet identified the other one.
“Our rangers working together with Zimbabwe Republic Police have shot and killed two Zimbabwean poachers during a contact at Hwange National Park.
They reacted to gunshot sounds at the main camp in the morning,” said Ms Washaya-Moyo.
“According to particulars of one of the poachers, it was concluded that he is from Nkayi while the other one could not be immediately identified because he had no identification particulars on him.”
She said investigations were underway.
“We recovered a 450mm rifle, two live cartridges, an adult male elephant, an axe, pots and four mobile cellphones,” said Ms Washaya-Moyo.
In a statement on Tuesday, Zimparks said a total of 443 people were arrested in connection with wildlife crimes in Zimbabwe last year, up from 317 cases recorded the previous year.
Of the arrested people, 31 were Zambians, seven were Mozambicans, one was South African while the rest were locals.
Zimparks said 57 of those who were arrested were convicted and sentenced to nine or more years in prison while the other cases are pending before the courts.
It said poaching of elephants through the use of cyanide was rampant in Matabeleland North province between 2013 and 2016 which resulted in the death of more than 300 elephants and other wild animals.