Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Bird Sanctuary, Chipinge and Malati Safari areas, which form part of the National Parks estate, Bubiana, Chiredzi River, Save and Malilangwe conservancies – part of the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier conservation area – have all come under attack, reports Wildlife and Environment Zimbabwe.
The NGO’s director, Dr Willie Ndoku, said commercial poaching of numerous species for horns and hides had reached alarming proportions and if it was not stopped soon “we should forget about our participating in the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier tourism”.
The same area is also under threat also from those poaching animals for meat, who starting veld fires to drive the animals to places where they can easily be caught.
“Besides the fires, trees are being destroyed by people who cut them to sell as fire wood in urban centres,” added Ndoku.
WEZ has written to the Ministry of Environment asking for assistance to save the area but their call seems to be falling on deaf ears. The perpetrators are said to be Zanu (PF) youths who claim that all the fertile land has been grabbed by party big-wigs – hence their efforts to claim the non-arable land in the conservancies.
“The land invaders have also occupied the southern part of Gonarezhou National Park, Chiredzi and Save conservancies. Conservancy owners are battling to keep them out – but without success. WEZ appeals to the powers that be to help remove these people from the game conservation areas and settle them on suitable arable land where they can do their cropping,” said WEZ in a recent statement.
The organisation says government must intervene “before it is too late”, or the country will be guilty of failing dismally to conserve its wildlife resources.
“This requires both political intervention and strengthening PWMA with dedicated staff that do their work without fear or favour. This can only be done if decision is taken at cabinet level,” said Ndoku.
Efforts to get comment from Environment Minister Francis Nhema were fruitless.
Meanwhile, Zanu (PF) supporters are also reported to be targeting white-owned properties in Chiredzi urban with a grouping masquerading as an empowerment lobby group calling itself “Youth Movement” having invaded an urban property belonging to the Henning brothers before proclaiming it as a flea-market.
Peter Hennings has written to the South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe complaining about the police’s failure to handle the case.
“Greig Henning reported the matter to the Police at Chiredzi but they declined to accept the criminal charge of Breaking and Entering that he attempted to lay. The police instead stated that what had happened is "country-wide". According to them It is being perpetrated by "youths" who claim that since the "fat cats" have grabbed all the agricultural land, there was nothing else left for them to grab other than "low-activity" urban property,” said Hennings in his letter.
Zanu (PF) through indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, has been calling for the invasion of white-owned properties under the guise of the policy that has been used by Zanu (PF) to plunder and loot resources.Post published in: Travel