Newsday (Zimbabwe)

ZIMBABWE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers last week gunned down one suspected poacher, recovered rifles and cyanide-laced cabbages and oranges in two separate incidents.

BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said the incidents took place between Friday and Saturday across the country’s national parks with main targets being rhinos and elephants.

“On Saturday at Chipinge Intensive Zone, which is a breeding area for rhinos there was an armed contact which led to a loss of life where a suspected poacher was killed in the night shoot out, while the other managed to escape,” he said.

“With him [the deceased] we recovered packs of oranges and cabbages which we suspect were laced with cyanide. We are still waiting for the results from Environmental Management Authority (EMA) laboratory for confirmation.”

Farawo said they had identified the deceased and his relatives were yet to be notified by the police.

“In Nyanga National Park, the same night our rangers also recovered a hand shot gun and six rounds of ammunition after laying an ambush during patrol, but unfortunately the poachers managed to escape and the matter has been reported to police while in Lake Kyle, a group of poachers managed to escape the net too and nothing was recovered.

“In Hwange on Friday, we found a fresh elephant carcass which we suspect was killed by poachers. It had been dehorned. Investigations have shown that there was no bullet wound to the elephant so we suspect that it must have been poisoned and Dete Police Station is dealing with the matter.

“We are saying to these poachers, the national parks are no-go areas and the law will take its course. We are also appealing to the communities to continue working with us to protect our animals and being our whistleblowers.”