The Hwange National Park remains the site of a poaching crisis, with figures released by the national parks authority (ZimParks) showing an increase in poaching figures over the past year.
ZimParks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo was quoted by the Southern Eye as saying that 329 poaching cases were reported in 2013, up from the 315 witnessed in 2012. The animals targeted were elephants, white and black rhinos, buffaloes and zebras.
Hwange’s elephant population was last year particularly hard hit by poaching, following the deaths of scores of the animals as a result of cyanide poisoning.
Conflicting reports have emerged about the total number of elephants poisoned, since the first elephant carcasses were discovered in the park in August. But it’s understood that over 240 elephants were killed in the park in 2013, according to ZimParks.
Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) warned that poaching would continue to escalate until there is the political will to change the current situation.
He told SW Radio Africa that the failure to bring to book some key officials implicated in poaching incidents, such as police officials and others, was a key problem. He added that much tougher anti-poaching laws also needed to be enforced.
“With the economy the way it is and the lack of political will, then yes, things will keep escalating. We have to get rid of corruption, and if there is the will from up high, then things can improve,” Rodrigues said.
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