The seven, after being given an opportunity to pay the entry fees by Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers, caused a stir when they refused to pay arguing that they had used a gravel road into the park unlike in their country where they use tarred roads to go and see domesticated wild animals in zoos.
Officer Commanding Victoria Falls Police District, Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiona, confirmed the arrest of Balataau Jean-Pierre Fiara Alain (57), Chassagnal Christian Louis Simon (66), Calliouep Courtle Marie-Anne (66), Riffaud Jean-Francois Michel Henry (61), Daudat Louis Joseph (60), Morin Jean Claude (55) and Baudat Guy Dieder (62), all from France, for contravening Section 90 (1) (2) of the Parks and Wildlife Act, Chapter 21, “entry into a parks area without authority.”
Chief Supt Chiona on Monday said the seven entered the country through Kazungula Border post and using the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation device, they turned into the Zambezi National Park for a photographic safari.
“Inside the park, they started a photographic safari and while they were still at it, they were approached by parks rangers on patrol, who asked them if they had paid entry fees to be in the park. The tourists failed to produce proof of payment and were asked to accompany the rangers to their offices so that they could pay the entry fees, but they refused,” said Chief Supt Chiona.
“They refused to pay even when they were shown that they had used an illegal entry point into the park area, which was clearly marked no entry,” he said.
Chief Supt Chiona said after refusing to pay, the tourists were taken to Victoria Falls Police Station by the rangers.
“At the station, police officers also asked them to pay the parks entry fees so that they could proceed with their journey, but they refused. They later paid fines for contravening the Parks and Wildlife Authority Act and were released,” he said.
Chief Supt Chiona urged tourists visiting the country to abide by the rules and regulations governing the places they are visiting.
“These tourists pay to get into a zoo, but refuse to pay to see wild animals in their natural habitat. Tourists should always abide by the rules and regulations of the areas they visit so that they do not get into trouble,” he said.