“20th January 2016
In the past couple of months, we have lost over 100 elephants to cyanide poisoning. The authorities have arrested a few people in connection with this but we believe they are just scape goats. Many different species have died such as vultures, hyena, buck, lion etc. This is because they have been drinking from poisoned water holes. The people doing the investigations are under threat from the authorities. Most of the perpetrators of the cyanide poisoning since 2013 have not yet been arrested but investigations are on-going.
ANTI-POACHING BY THE CHINESE
The Chinese have donated 2,3 million dollars worth of vehicles and equipment to play a part in conservation. This is strange as the biggest market for poached animals is USA and China. The Chinese are sending their own people to do the anti-poaching but we should be using our own people to do this. The Chinese could help by banning the importation of animals into China.
Theo Bronkhorst went to court in connection with the shooting of Cecil the Lion but the High Court stepped in and stopped the proceedings. They have put in an application to the constitutional court until their argument has been heard.
MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT
We are not surprised to hear that the Minister of the Environment went to China and fed carrots to the elephants there. Out of the 24 that were exported to China, one has died so there are 23 left. The food for the elephants consists of carrots, water melon and various other fruits. This is not suitable for the elephants but the minister claims that they are being well looked after and she will fulfill all the Chinese requests to import animals from Zimbabwe. She claims that Zimbabwe is over-populated with animals and we haven’t got the money to do anti-poaching. We have never seen an audit of the population of the wildlife. Nobody seems to know how many we have. The minister claims there is an over-population but how many do we actually have? We need to kick-start solar energy in the villages surrounding the wildlife areas, for example:
- Electricity in their houses
- Bee keeping
- Market gardening
- Art and sculptures
- Chicken and rabbit farming
- Fish farming
- Chillie growing
- Making paper out of elephant dung.
- Making organic compost.
We heard recently that 22 elephant tusks were recovered and it is claimed that the perpetrators were 11 Zambians. It is strange that a gun fight broke out but not one of the perpetrators was shot or injured. How did they know there were 11 Zambians? Did they count them?
Ecotourism will generate more money to run the parks but at the moment, it is not. Removing the animals from Zimbabwe and sending them to China is inhumane. We know there is a drought every 4 years and we should be prepared for this. We were hoping that 2016 would change for the better but at the moment, it doesn’t look that way.
Since the death of Cecil, who didn’t die for a reason but for a cause, a lot of activists around the world are changing the laws and we hope people will abide by them. When CITES have their next meeting in South Africa, we hope that most of the animals facing extinction will be placed on Appendix I and all trade in live animals will be banned. If the authorities look at the scientific data, the results are quite frightening. A lot of animals will become extinct.
A lot of conflicts in Africa are being fuelled by natural resources such as timber, minerals, birds and animals. These animals are becoming endangered – African Grey Parrot, vultures (poisoning), lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino, elephant and pangolin etc. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the conservation groups and TV stations for their support. To all the government officials and passionate people in different countries who have taken part in demonstrations, we say thank you but the battle is not yet won.
Our programmes are that we have to try and go to the grassroots (all the people who live around the wildlife areas) to alleviate poverty by kick-starting solar energy in their villages. Where there is human and animal conflict, we need solar energy for boreholes and fencing. We need to show them that they can make money out of wildlife without killing it. This will alleviate poverty and it will work. If they export animals to China, they will discourage tourists from coming here to see the animals in their natural habitat. The tourists will rather go to China to see the animals in Chimelong. Animals in captivity have a much shorter life span than those in the wild. Elephants for example live for about 35 years in captivity but in the wild, they live up to 75 years. If an elephant is sold to China, it is sold for about $20 000 which is a one-off. If it is left in its natural habitat, it can earn up to 2 million dollars through tourism.”
Text above by Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline: 263 4 339065
Mobile: 263 712 603 213
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