Hwange elephant poaching – Trevor Lane

via Facebook

There has been a lot of hype, wild speculation, and exaggerated stories on the issue of the poisoning of the elephant. There are some points I would like to raise on this and other issues, and set the record straight:

1) The total number of elephant poisoned stands at 103 – 84 at Makona/Jozivanini, 8 in Ngamo Forest and 11 at Guvalala. This is the final count of an extensive aerial survey conducted by WEZ ( Wildlife and Environmental Society of Zimbabwe) in conjunction with Parks. This bears out the figure reported by Parks, and can be taken as a true reflection, give or take a few.

2) The Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere and the Parks staff need to be commended on their reaction – strong and uncompromising, and they have been very transparent and did not try to conceal anything. Sentencing has been swift and satisfactory – one poacher arrested on a Sunday got 15 years on the following Wednesday! A very strong message has been sent out!

3) The Minister has also set up a an advisory trust of respected and well known conservationists and businessmen to advise and help in Hwange, and the results are already coming in – vehicles donated etc. Strict controls being introduced on equipment.

4) The Guvalala poaching lead to the arrest of a well known elephant and rhino poacher, who has been politically protected in the past. He has fingered his Chinese middleman under interrogation. We wait to see what materialises in this case!

5) I find it unfortunate that the media has made headlines out of wildly exaggerated stories of the number of dead elephant, with no bearing on what is the reality on the ground. They tend to quote an unreliable source out of Harare, known for wildly sensational stories and Parks bashing, which generally have little relevance to the truth. This is where the 300 poisoned elephants suddenly came from! I feel the media should make a greater effort to report factually, and use more reliable sources.

6) There was also a sensationalised incident of a Parks scout being sentenced to death. The point here was that this was not an anti-poaching field operation, but the suspected unarmed poacher was shot ( 10 shots) in his own house while trying to escape a beating during interrogation. The team then left the body behind and fled – not exactly straight forward.

7) Zimbabwe still has a shoot to kill policy for armed poachers, and this has been reinforced by the Minister. But it is not an open ticket to shoot anyone suspected of poaching.
All royal game and elephant poaching offences now have a mandatory 9 year sentence – one poacher just received 9 year for a pangolin.

Parks now have a very open and refreshing attitude, and they recognise the need for outside support and assistance ( although we realise they are not without their problems!). There are a lot of people and organisations working on the ground with Parks for the future of our wildlife in Zimbabwe. We need to be positive and straightforward, but do not need negativity.


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    Harper 9 years ago

    I wish you every success. It was a great pleasure to be among the relaxed elephants along the Zambezi in July this year,clearly the Parks staff in Chirundu there are doing a proper job.

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    We need more individuals to stand up for truth against propaganda and the irresponsible press- WELL DONE

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    Who is Trevor Lane?

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      Dr EK Gwenzi 9 years ago

      Traver lane is a respected conservationist. I worked with him in 1987 at Ngamo Safari. He is also a pilot who has been involved in countless game counts

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    Chapa 9 years ago

    Thank you for clearing up the situation and giving us the true picture. It is very gratifying that the Minister is taking such a tough stance on this.

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    shumba liverpool 9 years ago

    Well done Tyson..

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    Johnny k 9 years ago

    It is impossible for a tribesman from Tsholotsho to export ivory through Harare international airport. The people who are the middlemen and who are the conduit to get the Ivory through the system and who are greasing the palms of the customs officials and the ones stamping the documents are the ones who should be given 15 years in jail. I will await judgement on Minister Kasukwere’s sincerity until the big fish are rounded up.

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    Chivulamapoti 9 years ago

    Mugarbage knows about the poaching! He knows about everything, including Gukurahundi and the “Moment of Madness”. That single statement will get him hanged in the Netherlands soon!

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    Zimbali 9 years ago

    C Hallgren, Trevor Lane is a personal friend of mine and I would stand by any report he has on the subject of poaching and wild life conservation in general. He and a team of enthusiastic Victoria Falls residents, in conjunction with parks and wildlife, have been instrumental in reviving a large part of Vic Falls National Park by reintroducing water pans with pumps (some with solar pumps) and reviving the viewing platform. All I can add to this is look to the future, not the past. Good article Trevor.