Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
A 44-YEAR-OLD suspected poacher who was killed in a shootout with National Parks and Wildlife Authority rangers at Bubye Conservancy in Beitbridge last week, has been identified as a teacher based in Gwanda.
Ndabezinhle Majajama and an accomplice who is still at large were intercepted tracking a rhino at around 6PM on Saturday last week. They were armed with a 303 rifle- (serial numbers PC183) fitted with a telescope and a man-made silencer.
Sources said the duo opened fire when they saw National Parks rangers who retaliated.
National Parks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo confirmed the developments yesterday.
“Indeed he was working as a teacher based in Gwanda. Our message is clear, national parks are protected areas and are no go areas for illegal activities.
“We will shoot to kill in defence of our wildlife. We can’t allow individuals to rob the country of its heritage.
“It is unfortunate a life has been lost but we had no option because the suspects were shooting at us,” he said.
Mr Farawo said rangers recovered the rifle and eight rounds of ammunition from Majajama.
The other suspected poacher is still at large.
Reports show poachers have become more cunning and daring.
“Our investigations reveal that these poachers are now moving in pairs and enter the conservancy at night where they rely on the moonlight for their nefarious activities. In some instances they target water points and rhino concentrated areas early in the morning.
“They have also embraced the use of firearms fitted with telescopes and silencers to minimise noise and have devised counter tracking surveillance methods including wearing socks on top of their shoes,” an official said last week.
Incidents of poaching of rhinos and other wildlife animals are rife in conservancies in Beitbridge district.