Friday, March 14, 2014

Rhino Poaching in Zimbabwe Decreases in 2013

World Wildlife Fund workers dehorn a rhino in Zimbabwe's Chipinge National Park to make it less susceptible to poaching.

It has recently been reported that Zimbabwe has witnessed a drop in rhino poaching last year with only 750 animals remaining. According to the director of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority, twenty rhinos were illegally killed in 2013 indicating a decrease of 66 percent compared with the previous year. However, despite this significant drop, the country's rhino population still remains in a critical condition following a surge of poaching in the late 1980s which claimed close to 2,000 rhinos. As of today, only 750 rhinos remain in Zimbabwe which include 450 black rhinos and 300 white rhinos. Edson Chidziya, the authority's director-general, told legislators that most of the rhino deaths were blamed on poaching carried out by the local people. He further added that while the poachers shoot the animals on sight, some have also resorted to poisoning them. On the other hand, the major drop in the poaching of rhinos has largely been attributed to stiff measurements implemented by Zimbabwe's authorities and conservation experts which include prison terms for convicted poachers. In addition, they have also taken to dehorning the rhinos, satellite-tracking, and relocating the animals from high-threat areas to more safe sanctuaries.
A Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority worker walks into a room stocked with confiscated elephant tusks and rhino horns in Harare.

While this seems like good news, it also indicates that the rhino population in Zimbabwe is still much lower following a wave of bloodshed carried out by poachers in the late 1980s and that crucial measurements are in much need to ensure the survival of these animals and other species in the country. Last year, a wildlife conservation group reported that more than 300 elephants and other animals perished as a result of cyanide poisoning in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. This news indicates that even though a country recently experiences a drop in poaching or other wildlife crimes, it does not mean that such threats are no longer existing. Poachers and other perpetrators will always look for ways to stay one step ahead from the authorities to conduct their dastardly deeds. This is why it is extremely crucial to involve local communities to collaborate with the law enforcement and other authorities, in order to put a stop to poaching. The poaching of rhinos in Zimbabwe, according to this article, has been blamed primarily on the local people. In order to further combat the crime, it is important to educate the local people about the dangers of poaching and encourage them to join forces with authorities and conservation groups in order to make a difference in their home country. This includes tipping the authorities about any suspicious activities such as cyanide poisoning, which has been found to be the most deadliest method of poaching in Zimbabwe.

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