POACHING DOWN. ARRESTS UP. WE REMAIN ALERT
An updated database of incidents associated with poaching in the Zambezi Valley and beyond is currently being maintained, and the good news is that the statistics show elephant poaching in the mid-lower Zambezi Valley to have decreased in the past year. 28 elephants were known to have been poached in 2017, as opposed to 73 known to have been poached in 2016.
At the same time, an increasing number of poachers have been arrested in the Zambezi Valley area and given significant prison sentences in the past year. In 2017, 52 arrests were recorded, with 3 poacher fatalities and 4 poaching "wounded arrests". So far, in 2018, 39 arrests have been recorded. Many of these cases are still pending in the courts, but a significant number of those arrested have received the minumum sentence of 9 years in prison for ivory poaching.
However, The Zambezi Society and its conservation partners on the ground in the Zambezi Valley remain cautiously optimistic and always alert to this threat.
We cannot afford to be complacent.
Our teams are on the ground, working together with the Zimbabwe Parks Authority (ZimParks) and a number of our close conservation partners in the private sector, including MAPP (the Matusadona Anti Poaching Project), the Bushlife Support Unit, FFW (Flying for Wildlife ) and KAWFT (the Kariba Animal Welfare Fund Trust). We are also forging a stronger alliance with other conservation entities.
There are encouraging signs that the new political leadership in Zimbabwe is showing much less tolerance for wildlife crime than in previous years. Recent media reports have gone so far as to name highly influential political figures connected to the past regime as kingpins in this murky underworld. But while matters remain with the courts, we can only wait to hear what outcomes will result.
In the meantime, our collaborative efforts support anti-poaching intelligence work and informer networks. We provide logistical and material support on the ground to assist with the successful capture, arrest and sentencing of guilty individuals, poaching gangs, the middlemen and the syndicates that they work for.