via Legalbrief – Zanu-PF ‘bigwigs’ implicated in elephant deaths 29 October 2013 Issue No: 0334
Senior Zimbabwean Government officials, including Cabinet Ministers, have been implicated in the mass poisoning of elephants in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, with the death toll said to be more than 300, notes an SW Africa report.
It says senior government officials, including Cabinet Ministers, ‘are now threatening villagers, whom they sent to kill elephants on their behalf, so they don’t reveal their names’. The report does not name who the officials are, but goes on to say that there are five individuals who have been identified as being involved. The report claims that the individuals are offering cash bribes to villages to ‘buy their silence’. Another source said there are ‘tigers and flies’ in the elephant-cyanide death scandal, with the ‘flies’ being the villagers being used by ‘powerful politicians to poison the elephants on their behalf’. Johnny Rodrigues, the chair of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) agreed that high level authorities are involved, claiming there is a ‘cover up operation’ under way, according to the report. It notes he said the entire Hwange Park is on ‘lockdown’, with a heavy military presence evident.
Full report on the SW Africa site
Still in Zimbabwe, a ranger has been trampled to death by elephants. The country’s wildlife authority says three elephants attacked a park ranger and trampled him to death during an anti-poaching patrol in the north-western nature reserve where more than 102 elephants have been poisoned using cyanide in recent weeks. The ranger had separated from colleagues in the remote Hwange National Park, according to a report in The Herald which says elephants are known to be skittish and aggressive when family groups are in danger.
Full report on the IoL site
Zimbabwean police last week arrested a Chinese national who was allegedly found with 100kg of raw and processed ivory in his possession. A report on the News24 site notes that the man (34), who was caught at Harare airport, was found to have 17 pieces of raw ivory, said Caroline Washaya-Moyo of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. No date was yet set for the man’s court appearance. The arrest comes as Zimbabwe boosts its efforts to stop the illegal trafficking of wildlife related goods.
Full report on the News24 site