By Tichaona Sibanda
Conservation groups in the country have called upon the government to investigate the possible links of politicians and influential businessmen to an international ivory smuggling ring operating in Zimbabwe.
Johnny Rodrigues, the head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said the recent discovery of over 100 elephant carcasses killed by cyanide in Hwange national park shows that there is a sophisticated group of people involved in poaching.
If Zimbabwe does not find long term solutions to stop poaching, the country’s ecological system will be severely compromised, explained Rodrigues.
He told SW Radio Africa on Friday that cyanide is a controlled substance that cannot be bought without producing a gold mine permit.
The deadly substance is acutely toxic to humans, animals and birds and is mostly used in mining operations. In the last five years, the ruling ZANU PF party gave a number of its top officials mining licenses, under the empowerment and indigenization program.
It is also known that a number of senior army, police and CIO officers have mining rights in the some of the districts of Matabeleland North. Hwange national park falls under Mat north province and shares a border with Tsholotsho, Lupane, Gwai and Dete. Numerous gold mines are dotted across these areas. More....