Wildlife experts bemoan habitat loss

Source: Wildlife experts bemoan habitat loss – NewsDay Zimbabwe

WILDLIFE security experts have expressed concern over habitat loss and illegal trade, adding that this was affecting tourism in the country.

They also noted that criminal syndicates were now using sophisticated supply chains, modern technology, as well as bribes and corruption, to deliver their illegal goods to buyers.

African Wildlife Foundation Zimbabwe anti-poaching and security advisor, Simon Muchatibaya yesterday told NewsDay that the nature of wildlife crimes hasd also changed, while there was also growing concern that instead of using rifles and traps, poachers were now using more sophisticated and powerful weapons, some of which are acquired from armed bandits in the region.

Muchatibaya said population growth was also threatening wildlife habitats.

“Population definitely will keep on growing and development will keep on happening. In actual fact, development is needed and we can’t stop the growth of the population.  What needs to be done is to find ways of cohabitating.  We need development, and we also need the animals,” he said.

“While we need to directly address poaching, we must also take measures to end the demand for illegally traded wildlife and wildlife products.  Without a large and growing demand, there would not be a large and growing supply of wildlife,” he said.

Muchatibaya said in comparison to the 1990s and early 2000, Zimbabwean and Zambian law enforcement agents were now working together to prevent wildlife crimes.

“We are always carrying out joint operations, cross-border meetings and sharing of information has improved a lot.  This has kept poachers at bay,” he said.

Wildlife and biodiversity in general are also threatened by land use change and land degradation, deforestation, pollution, climate change and water acidification, which also threaten the wellbeing of humans and sustainable development.