'Copper cables threat to wildlife'

HARARE - Detached copper cables hanging from rusty telephone poles and broken exchange boxes are posing constant danger to wildlife and providing ready tools for poachers to trap animals, a wildlife organisation has said.

Kariba Animal Welfare Fund Trust (KAWFT) said they have been pointing out this problem to TelOne for the last two years but no action has been taken.

“Snares are being made from these telephone wires and wildlife is getting caught up in the hanging wires as well…and still these lines are left for wildlife to harm themselves and for poachers to make good use of the wires,” the Trust said in a statement.

The animal welfare organisation formed in July 2010 for the purpose of raising funds and awareness on helping injured or distressed wildlife in the Kariba area said an elephant had recently got its tusks caught up in the low hanging telephone wires and was lucky to escape alive.

Kudu and other animals have also been tangled up by the copper wires, the Trust said.

“The telephone wires at Nyamhung a turn-off have been hanging…for over a year now,” KAWFT said, adding that several animals encountered problems when they tried to pass through the cables.

Besides using the copper cables for snaring animals, the exposed lines have also become good business for thieves who steal the cables and melt them into various implements for sale.

“We would like to remind the public that being in possession of copper wire holds a minimum jail sentence of 10 years and if they are made up into snares, more time is added on,” KAFWT said.

Apart from low hanging copper cable equipment, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC)’s low-lying cables have also been a cause for concern for wildlife.

Last month’s ZETDC cables claimed the life of an elephant, which became the fourth to meet such a fate in the resort town since 2012.

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