Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
A 44-year-old poacher who left his phone at the crime scene leading to his arrest, has been jailed for 10 years for killing two rhinos worth $240 000 in Beitbridge’s Bubye Valley Conservancy.
Godknows Mashame of 19067 Mbizo 4 Extension in Kwekwe, shot down the rhinos on December 24 in 2016 before disappearing to his home town.
Police detectives arrested him after tracking him through his cell phone which he dropped at the crime scene.
The detectives recovered a 303 rifle, a 12 bore shotgun and a 122 rifle as well as two empty magazines, explosives, a hunters torch, eight live rounds and two Kudu horns from the accused.
Mashame denied contravening a section of the Parks and Wildlife Act which deals with unlawful killing or hunting of a rhinoceros when he appeared before Beitbridge resident magistrate, Mr Langton Mukwengi recently.
He was however convicted due to overwhelming evidence and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
Prosecuting, Mr Jabulani Mberesi said on December 24 in 2016, Mashame went to Bubye Conservancy to poach.
He then shot and killed a young female black rhinoceros and removed its horns.
Mr Mberesi said Mashame moved for 500 metres to another location, where he shot an adult female black rhino.
Mashame also dehorned it but dropped his Nokia cell phone with a sim card.
The court heard that a day after the crime was committed, an employee at the conservancy discovered rhino carcasses and alerted his employer and the matter was reported to the police.
The cell phone and three spent cartridges were recovered from the scene.
Through investigations, police detectives discovered that the cell phone number was registered in Mashame’s name and they tracked him to his house in Kwekwe.
Mr Mberesi said on December 31, 2016, police searched Mashame’s house leading to the discovery of three registered firearms, two empty magazines, and explosives, among others.
He said further investigations revealed that Mashame’s cell phone which he dropped in Bubye Valley Conservancy was active and that he had used it to make calls and do other transactions.
The two rhinos were worth $240 000.