Monday, June 27, 2011

Seven poached elephant carcasses found in Zim's Gonarezhou Park

Masvingo - Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park, which is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, has been hit by an upsurge in cross-border poaching of elephants with nearly 20 jumbos killed for their tusks over the past nine months.

Last week, game rangers on patrol in the Gonarezhou National Park discovered seven elephant carcasses at a watering hole near the popular Chipinda Pools. They had been shot and their tusks had been removed.

Late last year, ten elephants were killed in Gonarezhou with Zimbabwe government officials and wildlife experts concluding that well-connected international poaching syndicates were to blame.

Gonarezhou joins South Africa's Kruger and Mozambique's Limpopo national parks to form the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Experts say the three countries must work together to bust the poaching syndicates or risk losing tourism revenue.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority public relations manager Caroline Washaya-Moyo told The Southern Times that preliminary investigations suggested that international syndicates were behind the increased poaching.

'We have adopted a number of strategies, including working with other law enforcement agencies locally and regionally, as a way of containing poaching,' said Washaya-Moyo.

She said training of rangers on the latest methods used by poachers was a continuous process and called for greater regional co-operation in such activities.

There have been calls in the past for Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe to beef up their cross-border patrols in the area so as to apprehend more poachers. The lucrative market for elephant tusks and rhino horns in the Middle and Far East sees poachers investing a lot of money in equipment to evade rangers.

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is the world's largest wildlife sanctuary and is home to over 500 different animal species.

Its creation was predicated on increasing regional integration in Southern Africa.

Source: Southern Times

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