Wildlife plunder must be investigated

rhino_poachingOur front page story this week about the unprecedented savage destruction of our wildlife resources is yet another symptom of the breakdown of law and order in our country. (Pictured: de-horned rhinos)

This wanton destruction has not been done by hungry villagers, desperate for a meal, but by well-heeled Zanu (PF) heavies, terrorised police and parks officials and despicable professional hunters.

We commend the few national parks officials and dedicated conservationists who, against incredible odds, are battling to save something of our precious wildlife heritage. It is truly a David and Goliath battle. The poachers have massive firepower on their side, as well as political backing from within the corrupt Zanu (PF) hierarchy.

The extent of their insatiable lust for wealth is shocking, as is the depth of savagery to which they are prepared to descend in its pursuit. We appeal to CITES, the Worldwide Fund for Nature and other international bodies to investigate fully the plunder that is taking place. Whether Mugabe and Zanu (PF) like it or not, Zimbabwe is part of the international family of nations and our wildlife heritage is important to the planet as a whole.

The involvement of criminal, international gangs, in the poaching and sale of the ivory and other wildlife products would seem to make it appropriate for Interpol to take an interest too.

We agree with wildlife experts when they say that National Parks operations director Vitalis Chadengas revelation of the death of 65 elephants is merely the tip of the iceberg. We applaud his departments success in arresting 2,500 poachers this year. But may we ask where are they? What has been the success rate in prosecuting them? And have those arrested not revealed the identity of their paymasters sitting in cabinet? If not, why not?

There are numerous professional hunters and conservationists who know what is going on and would be prepared to give evidence. What is needed is a proper investigation into this whole matter. The ZRP is obviously too incompetent and corrupt to deal with it.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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