The use of obsolete weapons is compromising the safety of Forestry Commission rangers in their execution of duty.

This has prompted the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate to call on national security organisations to work together with the Forestry Commission to curb poaching in the country.

“The use of old fire arms by Forestry Commission rangers means they will not be able to match the modern weapons used by poachers until the matter is given due attention,” said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, Mr Prince Mupazviriho during an advanced rangers refresher course pass-out parade at Forest Hill in Lupane.

Mr Mupazviriho said; “There is a need for strong synergies between forestry and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to rely on each other for information and back up when contacts with poachers occur. I also urge Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to work hand in hand with Forestry Commission’s forest protection unit as you are neighbours and you have common interests especially here in Matabeleland North Province”.

The training programme which kicked off on the 8th of June was funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) under the Hwange-Sanyati Biological Corridor project whose objective is to promote the conservation of the country’s bio diversity.

According to the WWF country director, Dr Enos Shumba, the training programme is crucial as it promotes the government’s anti-poaching initiatives.

“Zimbabwe has managed to rise the flag high in the conservation of fauna and flora. This programme that you see here is very important because it connects the communities with nature, so we must continue to work together with communities so that we eliminate cases of poaching,” said Dr Shumba.

During the advanced rangers refresher course, the participants demonstrated their capacity to handle fire arms, interpret the Forestry Commission conditions of service, monitor fauna and flora as well as understand the causes, impact and control of veld fires among other skills.