Two former employees of Zimbabwe’s state parks authority have appeared in court on charges of ivory poaching, the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper has reported.
In a case that will spark fresh worries about the possible involvement of rangers in Zimbabwe’s growing poaching crisis, Bakani Khumalo, Givemore Makosa and four accomplices are accused of shooting and removing the tusks of three male elephants near Shangani in the south of the country in November last year.
The Chronicle said this weekend that the six were arrested at a fuel station in the central town of Kwekwe after they were seen behaving suspiciously.
When detectives searched their car they found five elephant tusks with a value of at least $9 250, according to the report.
The two ex-rangers and their accomplices have only just appeared in court and have been remanded in custody until March 17.
Magistrates are clamping down hard on illegal hunting in Zimbabwe, where cyanide poachers last year killed at least 60 elephants in Hwange National Park.
Hwange is more than 300 kilometres from the Inyathi-Shangani area.
The Matusadona Anti-Poaching Project reported this week that seven ivory poachers had been arrested in the Zambezi Valley, northern Zimbabwe. Eight tusks were recovered, the conservation group said.
The Turgwe Hippo Trust, in south-eastern Zimbabwe’s Save Valley Conservancy reported on Saturday on the sentencing of three poachers in the area. They were given effective jail terms of between three and nine months, the trust said. One of the poachers had snared at least two zebras.