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Sadc urged to share anti-poaching intelligence

Sadc urged to share anti-poaching intelligence

poaching

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
POACHING is a security threat that needs countries to collaborate and harmonise legislation to come up with shared anti-poaching intelligence and heavy penalties for illegal hunters.

Security agents from five Sadc countries Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe that are hard hit by wildlife poaching are meeting in Victoria Falls to strategise in the wake of increasing sophisticated poaching activities.

The idea of harmonising anti-wildlife poaching laws was conceived last year at a meeting in Zambia and now regional countries are seeking to implement the idea.

Officially opening a two-day 3rd Multilateral meeting of Defence and Security Chiefs on anti-poaching, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, whose speech was read on her behalf by Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister Cain Mathema implored member states to quickly domesticate the Sadc Law Enforcement and Anti-Poaching Strategy adopted by Sadc in 2015.

“There is more intelligence needed as to the source, transportation, storage, distribution and application of these chemicals and this can be done by strengthening legislation,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.

She said Southern Africa is endowed with vast natural resources including wildlife. She reiterated the importance of community involvement in fighting poaching.

“Strengthening of collaborative efforts, information sharing as well as community involvement remains our last hope for our wildlife. Success in anti-poaching hinges on involvement of communities,” she said.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, who is the current chair of the forum, lamented poaching activities in the region.

“Poaching in the region is on the increase and cuts across borders hence it is a security threat. This requires us to come together and develop strategies to curb the scourge that puts our wildlife heritage and tourism industry under threat,” he said.

Gen Chiwenga said the biggest challenge was that wildlife products are earmarked for international markets and being spearheaded by well coordinated syndicates that are usually made up of various regional nationalities, with some coming from outside the region with varying levels of sophistication.

He said this calls for the identification of mitigatory strategies.

“It was agreed that member states make efforts in harmonising anti-poaching laws and penalties. In this regard Zimbabwe has already engaged the Attorney General’s Office to review and update the legislation.

“It was also noted that there was a need for an increased involvement of the regional defence forces in anti-poaching activities and in this regard specific enabling legislation were to be enacted by respective defence forces. ZDF has intensified coordinated efforts with South African National Defence Forces, Botswana Defence Forces to enhance anti-poaching operations along the shared borders,” said Gen Chiwenga.

Defence forces, police, wildlife management and other environmental departments from the participating countries are attending the meeting which started yesterday and ends today.

@ncubeleon

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