Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Gunfight pits cops against poachers

Gunfight pits cops against poachers

Hazel Hweta, Chronicle Reporter
AN anti-poaching team comprising the police, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management (Zimparks) and Forestry Commission rangers was on Monday involved in a shootout with suspected poachers who had allegedly killed two elephants in Victoria Falls.

There were no reported deaths following the shootout.

Police confirmed the incident that took place in Pandamasuwe’s Fuller Forest at around 6PM.

“I can confirm that a team of police and rangers came into contact with suspected poachers at around 6PM on Monday. There was a shootout but no casualties were reported,” said the Officer Commanding Victoria Falls, Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiwona.

He said investigations were underway.

A ranger who spoke on condition of anonymity said a group of five men ran into the anti-poaching patrol team near its base.

“One of the poachers was armed and rangers fired a warning shot and he fired back. The poachers fled in different directions and disappeared as it was already getting dark,” said the source.

The anti-poaching patrol team went back to the area on Tuesday and discovered that two elephants had been killed.

Rangers allegedly recovered four elephant tusks.

In May, two suspected Zambians were killed in a shootout with rangers in Matetsi.

Other members of the gang fled.

There have been growing calls for the use of helicopters and drones as well as wildlife tracking systems to monitor animal movements in national parks to curb rampant poaching.

In recent years, poachers have resorted to cyanide poisoning in their criminal activities.

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