Suspected poachers found with over $20 000 worth of bounty

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BULAWAYO – Two hunters have been arrested  after being found snaring wild animals at a farm in Shangani, Fort Rixon.

Merchard Sibanda, 18 and Crowd Sibanda, 23 last week appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove facing charges of illegal hunting.

The two pleaded not guilty and were remanded out of custody to October 2.

According to the court charge sheet, on October 4, officials from the Parks and Wildlife Authority in Bulawayo received reports of rampant poaching in Shangani area.

Officials proceeded to the area where they talked to locals and got a tip off that the two accused persons were part of the poaching syndicate.

Parks officials raided the two’s home and conducted a search.

They discovered a satchel with eland meat.

The Sibandas were then asked to produce their hunting permits but failed to  do so.

This led to their arrest.

A further search of their homestead revealed that there was more fresh meat wrapped in a sack.

A makeshift gun suspected to have been used in poaching escapades was also recovered in the process.

A further search in another apartment of the house led to the discovery of a leopard skin spread out for drying, two-blood stained spears, two blood-stained axes and a nylon string used for snaring animals.

About 50 metres from the homestead, some fresh wild animal meat, skin pieces and hooves were also discovered.

The value of recovered game trophies was pegged at $2 500 while that of the leopard was pegged at $20 000 as stipulated in the statutory instrument.

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