BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
The incident happened at Shapi, Hwange Main Camp on Friday night after the rangers found an elephant carcass with the tusks removed and tracking encountered three poachers and opened fire.
“They did not manage to hit the poachers, but forced them to drop a .303 rifle, ammunition, a set of tusks, rations and personal items,” Bhejane Trust founder Trevor Lane confirmed.
Zimparks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident, revealing that none was injured during the shoot-out.
Farawo said investigations were still ongoing.
“The suspected poachers managed to escape from the noose of our rangers. We managed to recover those tusks, ammunition, riffle and other things. The net is closing in on poachers. We are saying national parks are no-go areas for poachers. If you are found in those places, the law will take its course,” he said.
Farawo said poachers were still a problem, but since the beginning of January the number of cases had dropped.
“They are still there and they are still a problem, but we are fighting back. This is the second elephant since January which has been poached in Hwange. Only in January when one was poached using cyanide. The biggest problem is about resources, we need to work with others. Our message is clear, especially to those who always criticise us on social media, they need to appreciate the efforts that we are doing so that we fight poaching.
“If they have issues they have to come to us. We are open for engagement so that we can successfully fight poaching. We have already declared zero tolerance to poaching.”
Lane said the police and parks rangers yesterday also
arrested two Hwange residents found in possession of pangolin scales.