By Musah Gwaunza
Environment, Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said several game parks are still vulnerable to poaching despite a ramp up in the anti-poaching drive
Minister Kasukuwere said although significant change had been witnessed in Hwange National Park as result of activities of the Wildlife Ecological Trust (WET), poaching was still rampant.
“Poachers are also devising ways of illegally gaining entry into the protected areas. Recently there was a report that close to 30 poachers, in two groups, had gained illegal entry into Hwange and Zambezi National parks…..although we are moving in the right direction towards sealing off the poachers’ illegal points of entry, protected areas such as Matetsi Safari Area, Kazuma National Park and Zambezi National Park have remained relatively vulnerable to the poaching menace,” he said.
The minister was addressing stakeholders on progress made by Wildlife Ecological Trust in raising funds for conservation this morning. The WET was set up last year in response to the elephant cyanide poisoning in Hwange.
WET chair Phibion Gwatidzo said they had so far raised $1,7 million in pledges and cash towards boosting the anti-poaching drive.
“Following various fundraising efforts we have now raised $1,7 million,” he said.
He said cash that had been received amounted to $76 310, while 13 vehicles amounting to 700 000 had been received. Total vehicles pledges were 23, amounting to $1,2 million.
Meanwhile, Minister Kasukuwere has questioned the legal system saying some known poaching “masterminds” are being allowed to walk scot-free.
“I believe there are some underhand activities. I want to call upon those charged with the responsibility of ensuring that justice is delivered that they do their part …we cannot have mastermind of this whole cyanide issue walking scot free, but all those who were sent by him in prison.
“We are raising this issue with the appropriate authorities,” he said.