Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Zim parks and wildlife authority too broke to stop rhino poaching, parliament told

National Parks and Wildlife Authority of Zimbabwe (ZimParks) Monday revealed that it is critically underfunded to perform effective operations resulting in continuous local and transnational poaching syndicates. Giving oral evidence on rhino poaching to the Water, Tourism and Hospitality Industry parliamentary portfolio committee, ZimParks director general, Edson Chidziya said although there was a slight increase in rhino population over the last three years poaching activities had intensified with Zimbabweans being labelled senior poachers by their foreign counterparts. Chidziya said despite all efforts by the authority, their conservancies had remained prone to poaching compared to privately owned parks in the country owing to lack of funds. “As much as we have put much effort to control this, it is a matter of concern that Zimbabweans account for the majority of poachers. We are still very far from curbing this problem because of (lack of) resources both human and financial considering that this practice cuts across the whole profile including villagers, ZimParks and also other countries. “Transportation of wildlife extracts includes shipping, air transportation and there is also a destination and all these stages will require some investigations. The whole system is just complex hence the need for more funding to carry out investigations at all these levels,” he said. The black and white rhino populations which had risen to 2 200 were in the 1990s reduced to 390 in Zimbabwe but through various interventions, according to Chidziya, the number had risen to 753 with 256 of these being the white rhino. Chidziya said the authority needs more resources to maintain or allow this number to increase and called for a multi-sectoral approach. According to ZimParks statistics, between 2010 and 2013 the total mortality of rhino as a result of poaching was 128 which is a very high number considering that Zimbabwe only has a total of 753 rhino. The total number of arrests during the last three years reached 66 while 30 people were given jail terms ranging from six to 21 years. Source: The Zimbabwe Mail

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