'Bigwigs involved in cyanide poisoning'

HARARE - A wildlife conservation organisation kicked out of Hwange National Park has alleged that government bigwigs were involved in the cyanide poisoning of wildlife.

More than 100 elephants have died of cyanide poisoning at Hwange National Park in one of the worst poaching atrocities in Zimbabwe.

John Rodrigues, the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) chairperson, said it was shocking that his organisation that had invested more than $1,5 million dollars on conservation of wildlife was now an enemy and denied access to Hwange and other national parks.

“They are afraid we will tell people the truth about the poaching situation and how the elephants were killed,” Rodrigues said, without mentioning names.

“There is a cover-up going on there at Hwange, and bigwigs are involved.

“We have helped in the conservation of wildlife and used more than $1,5million since 2005,” Rodrigues said.

One of ZCTF’s workers was two weeks ago arrested and charged with trespassing after he was found while conducting investigations in the national park by army personnel deployed to secure the area.

ZCTF organisation was set-up in 2001 to assist national parks with anti-poaching operations with regard to wildlife and aquatic life among other objectives.

“This is a big issue that needs the input of many stakeholders; many animals are dying from this cyanide attack, not just elephants,” he said.

“How do we help each other save the animals? Remember these animals do not belong to Zimbabwe but to the people of Zimbabwe.”

The opposition MDC party has demanded a commission of inquiry to probe the killing of elephants at Hwange National Park.

“The MDC’s demands follow the recent unlawful arrests and severe torture of villagers in Tsholotsho and surrounding villages by the police and game rangers and claims by Zanu PF that it is not behind the killings,” said the party’s tourism spokesperson Thamsanqa Mahlangu.

Government has said poaching in national parks has persisted due to lack of resources, calling on business and donors to fund Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) to help curb poaching.

Rodrigues said 300 more elephants died in Tsholotso in July and government took six weeks to react to the situation.

He said despite all the challenges Zimparks was facing, the director Maurice Mutsambiwa, wrote to him barring him from all the national parks.

Comments (2)

The poisoning of elephants by greedy ZANU PF big-wigs for monetary gain is a very cruel way to kill such magnificant wild animals. This practice of killing elephants by poison must be stopped immediately because it will kill tourism, because tourists from overseas read about these stories , then they ban visiting Zimbabwe. Also when the elephants get killed by poison, a whole lot of other animals which scavenge on dead animals die too, like jackals , vultures and other scavengers. Poisoning elephants to kill them will cause a number of problems resulting in disastrous ecological consequences because when vultures are killed in such large numbers , the desease called rabies naturally increases in wild scavengers and this poses a huge problem to humans and their livestock. Vultures eat dead animals and so they keep the desease rabies at bay. This killing of vultures in large numbers is a disaster to our environment because vultures are scavengers and vultures serve a huge important role in our country. Yes , vultures do not look very handsome, but if you study their role in our forests , then you begin to like them. Vulture reduce deseases like rabies in the wild, so before embarking on another elephant poisoning spree , will the ZANU PF big -wigs be educated on the subject of ecology and how certain animals like vultures must not be killed because vultures are important in our country because they do a good deed of scavenging and cleaning up of dead smelly rotting animal carcases in our forrests ! ! !

Vulture - 29 October 2013

This is unconscionable and ignorant greedy behavior. They do not realize they are killing the last of the beautiful. This is heartbreaking and I have cried my eyes out over this. What can be done? The entire ecosystem will be destroyed!!!!! What ignorance!

kanti pike - 17 March 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.