Some poaching updates over the last couple of months: ( have been offline for a while after a serious hacking of my web page)
Austen Sibanda – the poaching kingpin from Dete, who was arrested last year – and his six accomplices all got 9 year jail sentences. They were implicated in the poaching of elephant in Hwange National Park, and their arrest saw an immediate drop in poaching. Sibanda has been behind the poaching for many years, and on previous arrests had managed to escape conviction.
There was an incident in June in the Bubye Conservancy where the anti-poaching team located spoor of rhino poachers and following up. Three poachers were spotted and they fled, crossing out the fence onto the Beitbridge – Bulawayo road where they were picked up by a car – the Bubye team also secured a vehicle and a pursuit ensured. The poachers vehicle hit a goat and crashed – two poachers were shot as they tried to flee the scene, and another two injured in the accident detained and transferred to hospital. Two of the poachers were already convicted of rhino poaching and were on bail ( with sentences of 18 years and 19years) pending appeal!! A serious flaw in the legal system!
The seven Chinese arrested for rhino horn possession in Victoria Falls are still on bail, awaiting trial.
Rangers in Sinamatella had a contact with poachers near Inyantue and recovered an ancient .375 rifle tied together with wire! It had fired one shot ( which lead to the rangers finding them) and then jammed. Arrests are expected.
Two persons – a South African and a Zimbabwean – arrested in Harare for possession of rhino horn – 4 horns recovered believed to be from South Africa. The South African involved has a very dodgy record, but will have plenty time to reflect on it all now!.
Seven elephant found dead in the Dzivanini area of Hwange – the tusks still there, though the carcasses were over two weeks old. Suspected poisoning but still to be confirmed.
As reported in our September 2018 newsletter, a group of locals on a walk in the Zambezi National Park encountered a Zambian poaching – he had been shooting at an elephant before we came across him. He took a shot at us but one of the group shot him in the leg above the knee with a heavy rifle, shattering the bone After a prolonged spell in hospital he finally appeared before a magistrate in Victoria Falls facing immigration, illegal weapon and illegal hunting charges, and was found guilty on all – he received a very lenient conviction of 8 months in all, suspended and was deported to Zambia. However, we know he will never return to any poaching activities, and will be a visual reminder to Zambians of the perils of poaching in Zimbabwe.