Safari operators call for stiffer poaching penalties

By Luckmore Safuli

Safari operators in Hwange and Binga have called for stiffer penalties for people convicted of poaching as part of efforts to deal with the wildlife crimes.

Zimbabwe, which is in the process of reviewing the Parks and Wildlife Act, has been urged to ensure that the new legislation strengthens wildlife conservation which is under threat due to poaching.

As part of recommendations, safari operators in Hwange and Binga have called for stiffer punishment in order to eliminate illegal hunting of wildlife.

Sijarira Forest in Binga is among the areas that have witnessed a surge in poaching activities.

Jimba Safaris Director, Wayne Dietrechsen said stiffer punishment will act as a deterrent to poachers.

“I believe Zimbabwean laws are way too lenient. In order for an offender to be deterred, he should know the consequences are stiff, he should know as we all grew up knowing that the word poaching is terrifying.”

A recently conducted 30-day anti-poaching operation around the Sijarira Forest resulted in the discovery of 724 copper wire snares.

Other forest areas that are prone to poaching in the region include Kazuma, Pandamasuie and Sikumi.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks) has maintained a zero-tolerance approach to wildlife poaching and has prioritised collaborative efforts with stakeholders who include the judiciary, police, the Zimbabwe National Army and the private sector in the fight against wildlife crimes.

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