The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has reduced poaching drastically with only six poached elephants this year down from 18 last year.
Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Director General, Fulton Mangwanya, said the reduction in poaching numbers is attributed to efforts from stakeholders.
“In the last five years, we have been recording up-to 400 poached elephants which went down to between 16 and 18 last year and this year we recorded 6 poached elephants. We received equipment worth 700 thousand dollars from Sino-Zim which includes helicopters and boats to fight poaching. Another piece of equipment worth 2.3 million dollars was received towards anti-poaching initiatives and a further one million dollars’ worth of equipment will be received soon,” he said.
Human and wildlife conflict continues to pose a challenge as animal activists believe the authority is not doing enough.
“Human-wildlife conflict incidences have increased owing to shortage of water hence animals are finding their way to waterholes which are used by human beings posing a challenge. Thirty-three people have been killed this year with 50 percent being attributed to elephants. So we need to address the issue of water availability and relocation of some of the animals to the middle Zambezi where we have less population. We have a challenge of overpopulation of elephants by 30 thousand considering that our carrying capacity is only 55 thousand elephants,” he said.
Drought has seriously affected the flora and fauna in most national parks which have seen wild animals dying owing to the unavailability of forage and water.
“From September to now, we have recorded 105 elephants which died owing to drought and in most cases, they move long distances and at the end of the day, they would take more water with no food which at the end would kill the animal. In the save valley conservancy, 15 buffaloes have died and some are invading sugarcane plantations which is a cause for concern,” he said.
Zimbabwe has been trading some of the elephants as a way of managing the population with figures showing that so far 101 elephants have been sold raking in 2.2 million dollars.
“Animal welfare groups have been on our case, blaming us for not taking care of our animals, which is wrong. We have a window up-to-the 26th of November to trade our elephants, so far we have sold 101 elephants and got 2.2 million dollars. CITES gave the 26th November deadline for elephants to leave the continent,” he said.
Social media reports have indicated that there is a capture of the Zimbabwe national parks and wild wildlife management authority by Li Song which the Director-General dismissed in its entirety.
“We are implementing agreements which were signed before I came here, I urge anyone who needs clarification on issues to do with wildlife conservation to get clarification rather than having people talking about wildlife with no facts. Li Song has been assisting our organisation with anti-poaching equipment and we are happy with the partnership which is helping in wildlife conservation,” he said.
So far seven loads of hay bales have been transported to mana pools to feed animals while China’s academic school of science donated a number of goodies for national parks schools across the country.