By Johnny Rodrigues
We have received conflicting figures of the number of elephants that have died of cyanide poisoning. According to one report, in July a group of people flew over Tsholotsho and counted 300 carcasses. A statement issued by the Parks and Wildlife Authority showed that a total of 149 elephants have been poisoned from February this year. In a third report, a group flew over Hwange National Park and counted 84 carcasses, although this group didn’t cover the whole park. We believe National Parks have been burning and/or burying the carcasses so this might account for the difference in the figures.
A former Zimbabwe Republican Police Officer, together with 4 villagers poisoned 23 elephants using cyanide. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison for disposing hazardous substances and illegal possession of ivory. His accomplices, Sikhumbuzo Sibindi and Elvis Nkomo were also sentenced to 4 years in prison each for violating sections of the Environmental Management Act. Mkhululi Ncube and Johannes Munkombwe each received a 10 year prison sentence. They were also ordered to pay Parks and Wildlife Authority $850 000 in compensation for the 20 elephants they killed.
WHITE RHINOS SHOT IN MATOPAS
Just over 2 weeks ago, 2 white rhinos were shot in the protected Matopas National Park. The rhinos had previously been dehorned but the poachers removed the remaining stubs.
SOUTH AFRICAN HUNTERS
We have received reports of South African hunters hunting unethically in Chizarira National Park, Hwange and the Zambesi Valley.
CHIREZI CONSERVANCY INVADED
The Chiredzi Conservancy has been invaded for the fourth time since 2002. Five thieves, who were arrested, broke into the Safari Hunting Lodge and stole a considerable amount of goods. Amongst the items stolen were all the bedding linen, matresses, towels, crockery and glasses. The five who were arrested claimed that they didn’t break into the lodge. They said they stole the goods from the invaders who were the real culprits. These invaders are the same people who have trashed the safari lodges, asset stripped the property and slaughtered the wildlife with impunity over the past 12 years. This all took place under police protection and the crimes were passed off as political acts and therefore were not considered to be a crime.
The main invaders are Rambelani Choeni, Remember Ndou, Julias Seziba, Jule Muleya, Elphias Seziba, Steven Mahade, and the notorious Obias Ndou a habitual criminal who is known as King Gogo wa de Patswa meaning King of the Thieves.
Despite keeping the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Tourism and National Parks fully informed of the violent invasion, there has not been the slightest indication of any form of intervention whatsoever. This is in complete contrast to 2010 when the late Vitalis Chadenga, Director General of National Parks travelled to Beit Bridge and personally evicted the invaders from the property.