The Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, has vowed to pull out all the stops to put an end to all forms of poaching following the death of approximately 80 elephants from cyanide poisoning at Hwange National Park.
Addressing delegates who included the Minister of Home Affairs, Cde Kembo Mohadi and the Minister of State for Bulawayo Province, Cde Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo, at the World Rhino Day commemorations organised by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority at Bulawayo’s Centenary Park on Sunday, Cde Kasukuwere, who was the keynote speaker, said the Government would go all out to fight poaching. We will not tolerate poaching; the Government will put an end to it.
I want to promise that we will put a stop to that nonsense. Let us protect our animals; it’s the responsibility of the Government to protect our animals. The Government will leave no stone unturned to protect the animals. The rhino must be protected. The elephant must be protected. The lion must be protected.
“Our children must be able to inherit these animals from us. They must be able to hand over these animals to their children and their children must hand them over to their children. Our Zimbabwe culture requires us to protect our animals not to render them extinct,” said Cde Kasukuwere.
Turning to his prepared speech, Cde Kasukuwere revealed that 95 percent of rhino deaths in Zimbabwe are due to poaching.
|Fast facts: Poaching in Zimbabwe|
|Rhino deaths due to poaching||95% (2013 have already lost 8)|
|Elephant deaths due to cyanide poisoning in Hwange||Approx. 80|
|Number of mammals that can be found in Zimbabwe||Around 350|
|Number of bird and fish species||Bird (500), Fish (131)|
“One of the existing and persistent threats to the survival of our rhinos is poaching… I note with sadness that in 2011 we lost 35 rhinos to poaching, 22 in 2012 and this year 2013, from January to June, we have already lost eight rhinos. In 2013 the majority of the rhino poaching incidents have been carried out in some private conservancies… commercial and subsistence poaching by both locals and foreigners has resulted in serious threats to rhinos, elephants and other species.
Poachers are utilising highly sophisticated methods that are not available to our Parks Authority. Poaching is now being led by illegal well-organised professional syndicates. Poachers have now resorted to new methods of poaching such as using poisonous substances like cyanide or temick, thus threatening not only wildlife but human beings that reside adjacent these national parks,” he said.
Cde Kasukuwere hailed the army and the police for their “sterling” efforts in curbing rhino poaching.
“I am pleased to note that there is a combined effort by Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and other law enforcement agents such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police and National Army as well as other private rhino custodians to protect these species of animals. Let me at this juncture commend the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority for the rhino conservation policy which enhances coordination and stakeholder participation in wildlife conservation.
“I would also like to commend the Zimbabwe Republic Police and in particular the Support Unit, the Border Control and Minerals Unit for their sterling work in curbing poaching of rhinos as well as the illegal trafficking of rhino products in the country and across national boundaries. I wish to commend private rhino custodians who have contributed immensely towards the survival of rhinos.
“I urge all wildlife farmers to plough back resources into wildlife, including rhino conservation. I wish to take this opportunity to appeal to our traditional leadership and local communities to continue with their efforts to safeguard our rhino heritage. There are a number of local and international non-governmental organisations and the corporate world who are providing support in kind and technical assistance to conserve the rhinos in the country and their efforts cannot go unmentioned” Cde Kasukuwere said.
Cde Kasukuwere revealed that despite the rampant poaching of rhinos the rhino population in Zimbabwe is on the increase.
Date: 22 September 2013