The SADC bloc has been urged to strengthen collaborative efforts, deepen intelligence sharing and prioritise communities’ involvement in the fight against poaching as well as illegal trade in wildlife products.

Home to the largest herd of elephants in the entire world, SADC member counties continue to face a number of challenges in the fight against poaching and trafficking of wildlife products.

The major challenges have been limited resources and the sophisticated nature of the illegal practice.

In light of the obtaining challenges, delegates attending the 3rd Multi-Lateral Meeting of Defence and Security Chiefs on Anti-poaching being held in Victoria Falls, have been reminded of the need to strengthen collaboration and setting up relevant regulation to support the anti-poaching efforts.

In a speech read of her behalf, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said robust synergies, information sharing and involvement of communities is critical if the region is to reduce cases of poaching.

The cabinet minister expressed Zimbabwe’s commitment to the SADC law enforcement and anti-poaching strategy, adding that the country has already made significant efforts in putting in place relevant support regulations.

Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga said it is imperative for the region to find strategies in order to make it difficult for poachers to access the valued wildlife and the illegal markets.

During the 2nd Multi-Lateral Meeting of Defence and Security Chiefs on Anti-poaching meeting held in May 2016 in Zambia, participants resolved to take measures towards harmonising anti-poaching laws and penalties.

On its part, the Zimbabwean government through the Attorney General’s office is reviewing and updating the regulations.