Sunday, May 29, 2011

110 elephant, rhino poachers arrested in Zim since early 2010..

Behold, a scourge that is called poaching is threatening to gnaw our natural endowments in the forests and condemn us to the empty days that Europe is in the throes of.

Everyday, poachers rove our skies spotting elephants and rhinos for that deadly and greedy kill, not for the pot - in the village we kill small game for the pot - but for the equally treacherous 13 pieces of silver.

And a worldwide network or syndicates have been developed for the sole purpose of killing rhinos and elephants, endangered animal species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangers Species, for profit.

The Europeans, the Chinese and other Far Eastern peoples are involved in fueling the poaching scourge in Zimbabwe.

And with them are the locals that perform the gory deeds for a song, who are
high-tech equipped to the teeth by their benefactor. Among them, are our former servicemen - soldiers, policemen and former wildlife rangers.

If they are arrested, they get away with murder - having a slap on the wrist as punishment. This is a strong case for more concerted efforts internationally, stringent measures and deterrent sentences.

A brief look on the elephant and rhino, for example, will suffice. Consider the gestation periods of the two. It takes two years for a baby elephant or rhino to be conceived and born - and about six or so months for an average game.

Add another four years that the beast grows into adulthood and possibly another year it will be an offspring-bearing adult.That makes seven years the time that you can replace - or can a dead one be replaced - an elephant or rhino.

Now turn to the punishment that our courts have meted out to poachers and related offenders and it is a sorry picture. While the punishment against offenders has been evidently lenient, there have also been delays in investigating, prosecuting and punishing the same.

The National Parks and Wildlife Authority has released a report on poaching cases for the period September 2010 and April 18 2011.

The data shows that 47 rhino poachers have been arrested while 58 were also arrested for elephant poaching. Five elephant poachers were killed in combat with rangers while two rhino poachers were short and killed.

Of the cases that came before the courts, 11 have been finalised while 28 are outstanding. What with a bail of less than US$100, each poacher? This against the value of an elephant of US$20 000 and the value of a rhino being US$125 000.

This villager's full import is that the judiciary should complement the national anti-poaching process by giving deterrent sentences and restrictive bail conditions.
Relevant Links

The village soothsayer, says in one such case a poacher caught with 26 pieces of ivory, which translates to 13 elephant tusks, was released on US$50 bail because the magistrate in question had not seen a live elephant, let alone a rhino and hence lacked appreciation.

Neither was the magistrate in question aware of how much time it takes to have one elephant grow to adulthood.There is certainly need to instill a sense of understanding and appreciation on our judiciary, for in this poaching lies the demise of our national heritage, the demise of our elephant, rhino and gnu.

"The time is now. The time to act is now. The time to join hands as a nation to avert poaching is now and in our failure lies our failure. Yes in our failure lies our failure. Look at South Africa, a rhino is poached everyday," says the village soothsayer.

Adapted from an unknown Zimbabwean patriot's cry for rhino justice

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