Armed Zambian poachers are costing the Hurungwe Rural District Council (HRDC) an estimated $500,000 a year by slaughtering elephants in game parks.
Council Chief Executive Officer, Joram Gumbo, told The Zimbabwean media that poachers from Zambia were wrecking havoc in the area, killing elephants for tusks which they sell illegally to business syndicates abroad.
“We are losing revenue to illegal poaching activities and we urge the courts to pass deterrent sentences to these criminals and police must increase patrols to save our wildlife,” said Moyo.
He added that the council gets $10,000 for a single bull elephant hunting trophy from professional hunters. The council, in partnership with game scouts, has increased patrols in the area to curb the illicit poaching.
However, villagers who live near the Zambian boarder fingered top police officers, whom they accused of taking bribes from poachers.
“Top police are conniving with poachers. They are taking bribes and not doing much to stop these illegal activities. They are harbouring these poachers,” said a local villager who declined to be named for fear of reprisal.
However, police refuted the claims saying lack of adequate resources was hampering their efforts to fight poaching activities in the district.