ZimParks busts poaching syndicate

HARARE - Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife (ZimParks) has busted another wildlife poaching syndicate following the arrest of four suspected poachers.

Christopher Mushoni, Vhusa Lunga and Norman Dhlamini were apprehended at a police roadblock in possession of 28 tusks of ivory, weighing 129 kilogrammes.

They claimed to have been promised a hefty amount for the tusks, estimated at $96 000.

They implicated Laurence Edward Van Aswegen as the owner of the contraband.

ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said the poachers were taken into custody and have been charged with illegal possession of ivory and illegal trading.

They face lengthy prison sentences if convicted.

“We want to thank the community that gave us a tip off that led to the arrest of these poachers.

“It is through teamwork and support from the communities that make our vision, mission and mandate a reality,” Farawo said, adding that police, border control, Zimbabwe Defence Forces and ZimParks’ rangers were working around the clock to stem poaching.

“As National Parks we are on high alert. We are increasing patrols as we ensure zero tolerance to poaching.

“We have also increased mobile patrols and awareness campaigns.

“We have mandate to protect these species. It’s also everyone’s responsibility to protect our wildlife.”

Farawo added that the figures for 2017, show reduced poaching incidents, more poacher arrests, and successful prison convictions and sentences than in previous years.

He, however, said there was need to guard against complacency adding “we need to sustain the momentum already achieved.”

Zimbabwe has witnessed an upsurge in the number of elephants being killed by poachers in national parks dotted around the country, with some of the suspects using cyanide poison.

Conservationists estimate that thousands of elephants a year are killed for their ivory, for markets in east Asia.

The extent of the killings is so great that experts have predicted elephant populations could go extinct in the coming years.

Comments (1)

What happened to the Grace Mugabe case where she was found in possession of ivory at RG international airport en-route to Singapore. A case of one law for the rich and another for the poor?

Jonso - 5 February 2018

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