The ecological disaster that recently afflicted Hwange National Park in the wake of the cyanide poisoning of salt pans and watering holes while the work of heartless poachers is yet another manifestation of the effects of the West's illegal economic sanctions regime that affected Parks and Wildlife Management's capacity to police the vast park.
Hwange National Park is Africa's third largest game reserve after Serengeti National Park of Kenya and Tanzania and South Africa's Kruger National Park but the resources at its disposal after over a decade of sanctions are for the likes of Harare's Mbizi Game Park of Mukuvisi Woodlands.
Some numbers will suffice here.
The vast park spans 14 650km², roughly the size of Switzerland and is much bigger than the likes of Luxembourg which is at 1597,76km².
Whereas Hwange National Park needs to operate with 500 rangers, it has a paltry 50 poorly equipped rangers.
Hwange does not even have helicopters which are critical for surveillance, and the fleet consists of mainly non-runner vehicles.
This poor state of affairs has been a God-send for poachers who now relish the opportunity of "harvesting" the park's elephant population that also ballooned to 45 000 herd against a carrying capacity of 14 600, again due to poor monitoring. More....