parks vitalis chadenga.pngA call has been made for the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to lift the trade ban on ivory and rhino products so as to reduce the increased poaching currently taking place in Zimbabwe as well as the region.

The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority says the trade ban on rhino and ivory products did not yield the desired effect of protecting the animals but instead has seen an increase in poaching and lack of funds for conservation, hence the need for the international community to open up the market.

In an interview, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Director General, Mr Vitalis Chadenga said the opening of the market for rhino horns will avail money for conservation and resources to fight poaching which has seen more than 500 rhinos being lost in the last few months.

Mr Chadenga said efforts are being made to reduce poaching through a strong international and regional co-operation, stiff penalties of up to 25 years for perpetrators as well as strengthening the shoot to kill policy on poaching.

The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority controls 12,5% of the country’s land with an elephant population of 100 000 and a small rhino population of only 700.

The increase in the number of poachers is attributed to the international syndicate operating with sophisticated equipment which the responsible authority is failing to match.