Zim poaching levels go down

By Myles Matarise

OWING to effective conservation methods, wildlife poaching has significantly decreased in Zimbabwe.                                                           

This was a result of robust anti-poaching systems, coupled with increased patrols and the use of modern technology.

Senior area manager for Mana Pools National Park Edmore Ngosi reiterated that poaching levels had gone down significantly over the past five years.

“With interventions from the government and conservation partners, we are happy to say that we are on top of the situation as we have seen poaching levels decrease in the entire landscape.

“However, we cannot relax, but should be always visible.

“We are reaching out for support so as to empower communities with some projects that can help them buy in on our conservation efforts,” Ngosi told the Daily News.

National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe (Zimparks) is currently on a rapid digitalisation drive that has seen most of their radio communication and anti-poaching systems move from analogue to digital.

“Effective communication systems have helped us a lot in the anti-poaching drive.

“The migration from analogue radio communication systems to digital ones has helped spread information effectively as it happens and has also assisted in capturing critical data needed for sustainable wildlife management,” Ngosi said further.  

ZimParks get the support from the GEF 6 Strengthening Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management and Climate-Smart Landscapes Project in the Mid to Lower Zambezi Region of Zimbabwe which is funded by the government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

This six-year GEF project focuses on reducing key threats for wildlife, habitat, and livelihoods of local communities like poaching, deforestation, and impact of climate change in one of the key biodiversity country’s hotspots – Lower Zambezi Valley.

UNDP says wildlife crime is becoming increasingly recognised as both a multifaceted global threat and specialised threat to many plant and animal species.

“This is a significant problem that is particularly acute in Africa, where charismatic species like the African elephant, white and black rhinos, and dozens of other species such as pangolins are being poached to the brink of extinction.

“Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) is seen as a low-risk activity, mainly due to inconsistent prosecution and relatively low penalties.

“Consequently, it has escalated to become a major global crisis prompting high-level intergovernmental action, initiatives and consultation,” the UNDP project document said.

This comes as Zimbabwe is currently in an ongoing push to get international support for selling its elephant ivory stockpiles valued at over US$600 million, arguing that the revenue is needed to fund conservation efforts.