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SOS Rhino : In the News : Stop Game Privatization, Govt Urged
 

Stop Game Privatization, Govt Urged

  Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
May 14, 2004
Posted to the web May 14, 2004

Munyaradzi Wasosa

THE International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) has condemned Zimbabwe's deteriorating wildlife record and adopted a resolution calling on the government to stop nationalising private game ranches and conservancies, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

At its 51st General Assembly held from April 28 to May 1 in Bucharest, Romania, the CIC criticised the government for condoning the invasion of wildlife areas since 2000.

"We urge the Zimbabwean government to refrain from nationalising privately-owned conservation land," said the CIC.

It said government policy was destroying flora and fauna. "The extensive and indiscriminate slaughtering of wildlife, including endangered species such as black rhino, is a cause for concern," the CIC said.

"War veterans have invaded privately-owned game ranches and conservancies."

There have been reports that the Zimbabwe National Army is also involved in the indiscriminate slaughter of wild animals in protected areas.

Since December last year, poachers in the Sinamatella Intensive Protection Zone have killed four black rhinos, bringing the death toll of the endangered species to 30. The black rhino is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

According to the conservation group, government's sustained assault on wildlife areas is costing the country millions in potential foreign currency earnings.

"The privately-owned game ranches and conservancies form a substantial part of wildlife conservation and sustainable use areas in the country," said the CIC.

"It brings in substantial foreign currency to support local communities through legal hunting."

The Romania-based organisa- tion's mandate is to raise international awareness of environmental matters by lobbying with other like-minded groups for the protection of wildlife.

Since 2000, poaching has virtually destroyed the Communal Areas Management Programmes for Indigenous Resources in areas like Binga.

In February government released its Wildlife-Based Land Reform Policy that seeks to nationalise all private game areas and conservancies. Out of a total of 88 conservancies countrywide in 2000, only about 12 are left. l Last week we reported that Zanu PF Matabeleland North chairman Jacob Mudenda was allocated a hunting concession in Matetsi Unit 6 by Environment and Tourism minister, Francis Nhema, without going to tender.

It has since come to our attention that the concession in question was not allocated to Mudenda. The Independent regrets the error.



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