Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
POACHING continues to be a challenge for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority with about 500 poachers arrested in 2017 and 34 people killed in cases of human-wildlife conflict.
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said the authority was making great strides in combating poaching across the country.
“More than 500 people were arrested for poaching and 50 of them were foreigners and we have had more than 12 incidents of gun fire exchanges with poachers and 10 lives were lost. Of the 10 lives which were lost, seven were locals and the remainder foreigners,” said Mr Farawo.
“It’s unfortunate that we have lost lives but for poachers the parks are no go areas. If you are found in those parks for any other activity which is not tourism related you would be arrested.”
Mr Farawo said Zimparks together with other Government departments was making strides in combating poaching.
“We are happy with how other Government departments have worked with us, the judiciary and other law enforcement agents, we have been working very well that’s why we’ve managed to record such success despite limited resources,” he said.
He said as a result of human wildlife conflict, 34 people were killed from January to December last year.
“Of the 34, 21 people were mauled by crocodiles, two by lions and those cases were recorded in Chiredzi. There were also cases of people gored by buffaloes to death while some were trampled by elephants,” he said.
Mr Farawo said they received 393 human wildlife conflicts reports throughout the country.
“Of the 393 reports, we managed to attend to 300 cases and we had to pull down about 88 animals, these include elephants, lions, we classify this as problem animal control,” said Mr Farawo.
He said last week they killed three lions which had attacked and killed a three year old girl in Chiredzi.
Mr Farawo a total of 60 pieces of ivory and 23 rifles were recovered from armed poachers last year.
The parks spokesperson encouraged communities living around game parks or wildlife resorts to exercise caution.
“Apart from combating poaching we also aim at reducing human and wildlife conflict because what we need now is a perimeter fence to demarcate where animals live and where communities live. We also need to continue educating our people and raising awareness so that at least we live in harmony,” he said. — @AuxiliaK.