20 September 2013

Zimbabwe: Team of Experts for Hwange

Photo: Kevin Walsh
Elephants in the evening, Hwange, Zimbabwe.

GOVERNMENT is tomorrow expected to dispatch a high-powered delegation to Hwange National Park to assess the ecological disaster as the elephants death toll from cyanide poisoning continues to rise. The team of experts will pave way for a seven-member ministerial delegation expected to visit the park sometime next week.

According to latest reports, 69 elephants have died from cyanide poisoning in the giant national park in what has been described as the worst poaching disaster in Zimbabwe's history.

The delegation to revisit Hwange National Park tomorrow is drawn from seven ministries - Environment, Water and Climate; Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation; Health and Child Care, Home Affairs; Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

Environment, Water and Climate Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere confirmed last night that teams from the seven ministries will be dispatched to the giant national park tomorrow to make preliminary assessment of the disaster.

"We are dispatching a team of experts from the police, security, health and other ministries' experts to look into the poaching disaster and make findings," said Minister Kasukuwere.

The elephants were killed by six poachers who poisoned water sources with granules of cyanide at Hwange National Park in one of the worst cases poaching recorded in the country.

The joint operation involving the police and Parks and Wildlife Management Authority arrested nine people and recovered 69 elephant carcasses recently. Two years ago, nine elephants, five lions, and two buffalo were poisoned by poachers.

Minister Kasukuwere last weekend led a three-member ministerial delegation to the scene where elephants were found dead after they drank poisoned water.

He condemned the killing of wildlife and called for stiffer penalties.

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