Illegal ivory dealers jailed

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has said it will do everything within its means to preserve the country’s wildlife, following a Guruve duo that was sentenced to 11 years in prison each after being found in illegal possession of 16kg of ivory.

Zimparks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo yesterday commended Guruve magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka for sending a message to would-be offenders by convicting Elizabeth Kuripi and Patrick Mapfumo.

According to prosecutor Albert Mazhindu, the two were facing two counts of contravening Section 82 of Statutory Instrument number 362 as read with Section 128 of the General Laws amendment number 5 of 2011.

Mazhindu said the two convicts were arrested after they attempted to sell the ivory weighing 16, 4kg worth $2 726, 80 in December last year.

Speaking to the Daily News Washaya-Moyo said Zimparks will continue to lobby for stiffer penalties and consistence in the handling of wildlife crimes across the country.

“We are grateful to the magistrate, the police, Zimparks officers and the Tikki Hywood Trust, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the suspects were finally convicted.

“Zimbabwe will continue to show the international community that it attaches value to its wildlife by coming up with policies intended to protect and conserve the country’s wildlife,” Washaya-Moyo said.

Zimbabwe is one of Africa’s biggest ivory producers and is seeking to dispose of more than 70 tonnes of the ivory in its armoury.

Some countries have been lobbying for the ban of the sale of ivory, arguing that it is fast tracking the extinction of elephants.

However, Zimbabwe said it will seek for the removal of restrictions that affect the trade of ivory at the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species meeting, which runs from September 24 to October 5, this year.

Comments (1)

Dear Sir, I have been a visitor to Zimbabwe National Parks on several occasions - Hwange, the Matopos, Ghonorezou and Matusadona and I have the utmost respect and admiration for the work carried out in the field by National Parks staff, often under unenviable circumstances. But the decision of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority to request the removal of restrictions affecting the trade ivory at the forthcoming CITES conference in South Africa is, in my view, fatally flawed. After the one- off sales of ivory in 2008 the poaching of ivory which had declined massively following the universal ban in 1989, poaching of elephants rose again sharply, resulting in the present day scenario where one elephant in Africa is killed every 35-minutes. It should also be noted that with the exception of South Africa and Botswana, Zimbabwe stands alone amongst other African countries in taking this stance yours sincerely Michael McKeown

Michael McKeown - 23 June 2016

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