The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has dismissed as false, reports circulating on both print and electronic media platforms alleging that some elephants and lions were recently translocated to Manzou Game Park. Yesterday's edition of the dying Southern Eye newspaper alleged that lions and baby elephants were captured at the Hwange National Park and moved to a game reserve it alleged is linked to First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe.
The Southern Eye reported that Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force chairman Mr Johnny Rodrigues said the animal rights group had it on good authority that the captured elephants had not been exported, with some of them being sent to the alleged First Lady's game reserve.
In a statement yesterday, ZPWMA yesterday the authority's personnel have never submitted any reports of elephants and lion sightings nor their spoor in Manzou Park.
"It is important to take note that communities adjacent to Manzou have also never reported sightings of such big and dangerous animals hence the allegations are nothing but falsehoods being perpetrated by individuals masquerading as conservationists and should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.
"The authority wants to make it clear that it will continue to work with organisations that have Zimbabwe's wildlife at heart and not those elements that are bent on not only tarnishing the image of the country but its leadership. Further, the same individuals and organisations prioritise raising funds for their personal benefits, in the name of the country's wildlife and at the expense of conservation," read the statement.
The authority said it was in-human that wildlife continued to suffer when some organisations and individuals, some of whom do not have conservancies, continue to live large yet they pretend to be supporting wildlife.
"Let it be known that ZPWMA has a mandate to manage the entire wildlife population of Zimbabwe, whether on private or communal lands. It is further mandated with the protection, management and administration of the wildlife of Zimbabwe.
"The authority has had a proud history of sound management that endeavours to preserve the unique flora and fauna heritage of Zimbabwe," said the statement.
Last week, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Cde Saviour Kasukuwere attacked Mr Rodrigues for fighting Government's decision to export baby elephants to China, France and the United Arab Emirates. He said the move by Government was meant to control the ballooning elephant popu- lation.
Addressing representatives from various Government ministries, organisations and villagers at the launch of the Hwange-Sanyati Biological Corridor Project, Cde Kasukuwere said the country was selling its elephants as a way of empowering communities that were impoverished by the Western-imposed illegal sanctions.