At least 10 elephants were killed during the past two months in the giant Gonarezhou national park as poaching reaches alarming levels in the Great Limpopo Trans Frontier Park.
It also emerged this week that over 700 people from the Chitsa clan were still occupying part of the sanctuary, hampering efforts to deal with poaching activities. The clan moved into the giant park during the height of the farm invasions and has since vowed to resist eviction, arguing that the land belongs to their ancestors.
Bodies of the killed animals were recovered this month with some of them being at an advanced stage of decomposition. All their tusks had been removed. Acting Masvingo police spokesman Assistant Inspector Nkululeko Nduna confirmed the development. â€œWe are investigating cases of poaching in Gonarezhou where several animals especially elephants were killed,â€ he said. â€œSo far no arrests have been made but investigations are in progress.â€
Although no official comment could be obtained from the department of parks and wildlife, a highly placed source in the department told Zimbabwean that the poachers were allegedly using poisonous substances to kill the animals.
â€œAs I speak now we have lost 10 elephants in just two months and our investigations point to the fact that the poachers were using poisonous substances to kill the animals. We are having problems dealing with poaching activities in the giant park because of the presence of invaders from the Chitsa Clan,â€ he said.
Poaching has reached alarming levels in the countryâ€™s national parks and Zimbabwe risks being expelled from the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species CITES. Some 200 rhino have been lost since 2012 due to rampant poaching.
According to animal welfare groups, among them the Species Survival Commission and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, this loss represents about 30 percent of the living rhinos in the country.Post published in: Featured