‘No technology to save rhinos’ NewsDay March 29, 2014 in News
THE country’s remaining 700 rhino population is at risk of being wiped out by poachers as government has admitted that it does not have the latest technology to safeguard the endangered species.
Environment, Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere told Parliament on Wednesday that lack of resources had hampered efforts to equip the rhino conservancies with the latest tracking and surveillance technology.
This comes amid reports that poachers were now using sophisticated methods to evade arrest.
Kasukuwere, however, said the country had recorded a decrease in rhino poaching over the past few years.
“It is a fact that indeed the rhino is an endangered species and as government, we have been trying to protect 700 of our rhino from poachers as they are determined to try and get better than us,” Kasukuwere said.
“Due to lack of financial resources, we have not yet gone towards acquiring the latest technology to provide 24-hour security.
“We would like to move towards that to quell poachers.
“However, this past year, we had a net gain of eight cows born and have seen a gradual decrease of the number of rhinos killed.”
Kasukuwere said as an interim measure, government had put most of its rhinoceros in conservancies and partnered with countries like Germany and private entities to safeguard them.
Meanwhile, a potentially fierce human-wildlife clash looms in Chipinge district where stray buffaloes and elephants from the Save Valley Conservancy have reportedly destroyed crops in the nearby villages.
Villagers have threatened to take the law into their own hands and hunt down the troublesome animals if government takes long to erect a new fence around the conservancy.
District administrators Edgar Seenza confirmed the development over the weekend.
“The problem has an effect on the total yield by farmers,” Seenza said.
“The best way to deal with the problem is to erect the electric fence because any other fence will not help the situation.
“There is now a Save Valley Conservancy Cabinet committee which is looking into that matter and I hope the electric fence will be put in place soon.
“That is the only effective way to deal with the situation.”
The security fence at the wildlife sanctuary was vandalised in 2012 after some top Zanu PF officials invaded the area under the banner of the party’s indigenisation policy.