Over one thousand (1,000) elephants have been killed in Zimbabwe in less than 4 years 2008 to 2012, it has been reported. But this number is way below that of South Africa where in just twelve months elephants of the same number were slain by poachers.
This was revealed during Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi’s address to the international affairs think tank, Chatham House on Friday.
Below was part of his address on this issue:
Ladies and Gentlemen, “Let me turn to the issues of ecological disaster that you might have read with respect to lacing of water holes and salt licks by cyanide in Hwange National Park, which is part of the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area. The KAZA is the biggest wildlife sanctuary in the world with the largest population of elephants. Ordinarily, that makes wildlife a magnet for tourism development. However, the current trend of wildlife poaching using biological chemicals, present a huge challenge for us as a country and the Southern African region. It will undermine tourism economic growth. To this end, the death of more than 100 elephants in Hwange National Park, following collapse of conservation programmes due to underfunding and withdrawal of support by the international financial markets has created a huge gap on environmental security and sustainable biodiversity conservation in Zimbabwe.
“I wish to state that even when countries are in frosty relations, this should not affect the wildlife we hold so dear to our hearts as our global commons. The wild elephants, the rhinos, the buffaloes, the leopards, the lions, just to mention the Big Five, know no political differences and political boundaries. However, the question is, should we allow political differences to play game while biodiversity and conservation of our pristine flora and fauna are being decimated? I wish to share with you that the death of elephants in Hwange National Park of Zimbabwe, is a tip of the iceberg. We need to address the issues together to protect our ecosystems and all that is in it. Africa is suffering huge haemorrhaging and pillaging of wildlife resources due to increase demand of wildlife products in foreign markets in Asia, here in Europe and the Americas. In fact, there is indisputable empirical evidence, which show that biodiversity and wildlife in Africa face enormous threats. More....