Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
January 17, 2003
LAST week's poaching of four black rhinos in an Intensive Protection
Zone in the Sinamatela area of Hwange National Park will further
undermine government's sta-nding in regard to the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).
Conservation sources this week blamed the poaching on illegal settlers
and bemoaned the lax security in the area, which is supposed to
Mines, Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema confirmed
the poaching when contacted for comment.
I can confirm that the four rhinos were killed by poachers whom we
are hot on the trail of," Nhema said.
He however dis-missed suggest-ions that security was lax in the
Poachers can hit whether there is security or not," he said.
Government's relations with Cites have been frosty since 1998/99
after the envi-ronmental bodyrefused to down-list elephants
from Appendix Ito II, to enable trade in ivory. Government on
other hand has been demanding the right to trade in ivory saying
increase in the number of elephants and rhino was decimating
Elephant and rhino horns are the main targets of poachers.
The latest poaching incident flies in the face of a government
policy document promoting sustainable wildlife management
as an integral
part of the land reform programme.
The Zimbabwe Independent revealed last year that poaching
in Lowveld conservancies had destroyed 60% of the wildlife.
Settlers have taken up plots in conservancies which were
created to protect endangered species. Game has also
been under siege
on resettled farms.
The government document was crafted in July by the Ministry
of Environment and Tourism and the Department of National
Parks and Wildlife Management
in tandem with two internationally-recognised wildlife
It is estimated that 50% of Zimbabwe's wildlife has
been poached in the last two years, which has cost
$6 billion in lost tourism and Safari revenues.