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HomezimbabweZimbabwe Loses U.S.$8 Million to Poaching

Zimbabwe Loses U.S.$8 Million to Poaching

ZIMBABWE has lost close to US$8 million since 2019 as over 420 Big Five animals have been killed by poachers from 2019 to date.

According to statistics released by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks), 422 elephants, rhinoceros, lions and buffalos valued at approximately US$7 786 000 have been killed over the last five years.

During the period under review, poachers killed a total of 142 elephants, 52 rhinos, 19 lions and 209 buffalos.

According to a research carried out by The Herald, the average price of an elephant is US$30 000, hence the country lost approximately US$4 260 000 to poachers when 142 jumbos were slaughtered over the last five years.

Discount Africa Hunts, a leading African hunting safari company with hunting packages in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, says a hunter who wants to kill an elephant has to part ways with a whooping US$32 000. Other jumbos go for much more while others are cheaper.

When it comes to rhinos, Discount Africa Hunts charges an average of US$13 000 for each beast. Considering that 52 rhinos were slaughtered since 2019, that means Zimbabwe lost approximately US$676 000 in potential revenue.

The poachers are also not sparing the king of the jungle and with an average market price of US$40 000 placed on each of the 19 lions killed since 2019, the country has been prejudiced of approximately US$760 000.

According to Discount Africa Hunts, a hunter who wants to pursue a lion has to part ways with a cool US$44 600. Other lions, of course, go for less than this.

As if the bleeding of the national fiscus was not enough, the killing of 209 buffalos by poachers since 2019 has also caused a US$2 090 000 dent on the country’s coffers as one beast costs an average of US$10 000.

Discount Africa Hunts is currently charging US$13 000 for a hunt of one beast.

The poaching crisis is costing Zimbabwe millions in lost tourism revenue annually.

According to Campfire, over 90 percent of the revenue generated from wildlife is from trophy or sport hunting leases with commercial safari operators. The balance of the revenue is from leases for other forms of tourism, the sale of hides, ivory and other animal products.

The tourism sector is one of Zimbabwe’s major economic mainstays that is expected to drive the country towards an upper middle income economy society by 2030, along with the mining and agriculture sectors.

With the country’s revenue being siphoned through the underhand poaching deals, the Government of Zimbabwe, through Zimparks, is investing heavily in fighting the scourge.

Zimparks is working closely with a lot of Government departments to curb poaching, including the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the judiciary.

The organisation is also working with various conservation partners, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) to preserve wildlife, wild lands, and natural resources.

Zimparks is happy with some successes recorded in combating poaching, especially in the Hwange-Matetsi block centred on Hwange National Park where no single incident of poaching of high value elephants has been recorded since the year 2021.

More than 4 000 arrests were effected over the five years, amid soaring success in combating poaching of wildlife in the country.

Zimparks’ head of corporate communications, Mr Tinashe Farawo said their anti-poaching budget is over US$5 million.

He said the money covers patrols and anti-poaching equipment, among other things.

“We are working closely with our partners and they have been helping us with training, ammunition, vehicles and a lot of other things needed in fighting this scourge.

“Our partners like the police and the judiciary have really given their all in fighting this problem, and that is why the numbers dropped in some cases,” he said.