Zimbabwe has a reputation for innovation in wildlife conservation over the last decades, introducing, for example, the ground-breaking CAMPFIRE programme in the 1980s for community based conservation. This set a...
After rising to frightening levels in previous years, poaching in the Limpopo National Park has reduced in 2014. This is regardless of poaching still increasing in neighbouring Kruger National Park.
This success in the LNP was put down to the hard work by law enforcement officials. During the year, they arrested a total of 50 poachers, confiscated 17 firearms, seized four passenger vehicles and collected 644 snares, not to mention a large number of spears, machetes and axes. These seizures are the result of coordinated actions between the LNP rangers and the border police of the Republic of Mozambique.
Sadly, poaching still resulted in the loss of at least ten elephants and two rhinos during the same time. In Kruger, the same period saw 1 020 rhinos killed, as opposed to 1 004 rhinos in 2013.
Most of the poachers have been crossing from Mozambique through LNP, and many come from villages in and around the Massingir district. Those involved are not only local youths eager to make easy money to buy high-powered cars and construct luxury homes, but also some officials and agents who should be protecting these precious resources.
A number of initiatives are being put in place in the LNP to address this scourge. Law enforcement activities are being stepped up and a programme to increase awareness amongst local communities on these issues is being rolled out.
It is also hoped that with the passing of a new conservation law in Mozambique, that entails among others, more severe punishment for the culprits, and the deployment of the recently recruited conservation police unit, more arrests of this kind will be made.