By Yvonne Mashie
For weeks now, we have been bombarded by news that elephants are dying at the giant Hwange National Parks due to poisoning, adding that to date, at least 100 carcasses have been found, while a number of predators, including vultures and lions have also succumbed to the poisonous chemicals used at water points and salty grass areas in a bid to get ivory from the elephants’ tusks.
I guess it is a lot easy for many Zimbabweans to ignore the news because frankly, people have too much to worry about than elephants dying somewhere in a jungle they have never been able to visit in their life time. However, it is imperative that the nation knows we have a collective obligation to conserve our environment, more so our animals.
The recent attack on our animals in the great Hwange National Parks shows that organized crime has slipped into the ivory underworld, because only a well-oiled criminal machine could move hundreds of pounds of tusks thousands of miles across the globe.
Clearly, only those with links to the top echelons of the mostly “powerful” elite are able to “smuggle” elephant tusks out of this country. An ordinary struggling Zimbabwean could never do this. Those responsible for carrying out investigations on this matter should do so expeditiously and unsparingly to bring the culprits to book.
According to deputy police commissioner general Innocent Matibiri the smuggling rings stretch to China and Dubai. Some time in July “a wooden artefact was flown to Dubai [from Harare\ as an unaccompanied parcel. It was discovered that there were pieces of ivory that weighed 447kg stashed under the wooden sculpture … It is quite obvious that this is a syndicate that involves people in Dubai,” Matibiri said.
However, the Minister responsible for Environment, Water and Climate Change, Saviour Kasukuwere does not think so. He is cautious about launching any investigations into the possible involvement of senior figures in the government. More....