Illegal mining on the rise at national parks

 By ZBC Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) says illegal miners have become a menace in the country’s national parks. This was disclosed by Zimparks Director-General, Fulton Mangwanya on the sidelines of a basic military training graduation ceremony for Zimparks officials at Mushandike college of wildlife conservancy in Masvingo.
Mangwanya said despite his authority regularising some of the mining operations in areas that include Umfurudzi, Chegutu and Matopos National park, miners are failing to control the damage.
“When we regularised we made sure they pay conservation fee, at the same time we came up with conditions for miners to rehabilitate the land. But this is not working out well because these are small scale. We have miners who do not have the capacity to reclaim the land they will have ravaged. This is quite a challenge because our mandate is wildlife conservancy, not mining,” He said.
He also said that 250 illegal miners have been arrested, but that has not deterred the illegal gold nugget picking in Chiwore and Mkanga.
“In Chewore and Mkanga we have arrested more than 250 Illegal miners but they keep coming to pick gold nuggets, “Mangwanya said.
Mangwanya said poaching has drastically dropped lately, however, he has warned poachers that the rangers will not hesitate to kill armed poachers.
“The current situation is poaching has drastically dropped from about 400 to 12-18 elephants lately. Sadly, we are losing poachers but we shoot to kill if one is found with firearms you’re an enemy we shoot to kill. We can not mince our words because these poachers are also trying to kill the rangers,” he said.
Zimparks and its partners have intensified campaigns in promoting the conservation of animals in different communities around the country.