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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Two rhino poached in Matopos, Zimbabwe

Two rhino have been killed by poachers in Matopos National Park, Zimbabwe. The two rhinos, one estimated at over 50 years known as Swazi and another aged 10, were suspected to have been killed last Thursday.

Image credit: David Amyot

The poaching crisis in Zimbabwe has been making international news headlines, after the mass poisoning of elephants in the Hwange National Park.

In response to the incident it has been reported that the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) have commandeered crack rangers from Hwange National Park and Matopos National Park in large-scale operation to attempt to catch the poachers involved.

Sources said the two rhink were killed on Thursday. The same sources added that ZimParks officials were unsure whether the culprits were a local, regional or international syndicate. "There is a big follow-up, Parks are on it. Rangers have been brought in from Hwange and Bulawayo," a source close to the incidentr was reported as saying.

Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has not yet commented. However, David Coltart, a former minister in the past coalition government expressed outrage at the poaching. "This is a national outrage." Coltart said. "It would be good if the Tourism minister (Walter Mzembi) flew down with him (Kasukuwere) as our rhinos will increasingly become a magnet for tourists the scarcer they get in the world. My heart goes out to those in national parks and the local community who have worked so hard to rebuild the fence and to protect these magnificent animals. We must all publicise this and express our outrage. Only a stirring of our national conscience will stop these animals from being rendered extinct (in our country)."

The former Cabinet minister said the Zimbabwe government should speak with governments of the countries where the rhino horn is traded "to see what measures they are going to take to prevent this destruction of one of our national assets".

"If countries like China are truly our ‘all weather' friends they will demonstrate their abhorrence by acting to deal with their own nationals involved in this scandal."

Source: (10 November 2013), (08 Nov 2013).

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