“Halting these poaching is not an easy task, given that these criminals use high technology gear, including night vision equipment, veterinary tranquilisers’ silencers and helicopters as has been witnessed elsewhere in the region,” said Nhema in an interview with Radio VOP. “If not stopped the rhino population in Zimbabwe and its neighbours will soon slide into critical levels, hence pushing them to the edge of extinction,” he said.
Zimbabwe lost 66 rhinos to poachers last year.
There are strong suspicion that some senior ZANU (PF) officials are conniving with Chinese nationals in poaching and smuggling rhino horns.
“The communities have been resisting giving information because sometimes they are part of the syndicate.” said Nhema.
About 162 persons including foreign nationals were last year arrested for poaching but Nhema would not disclose the nationalities saying that it was something that is still in the hands of the National Parks and Wildlife.
“I cannot tell you the names of those foreign nationals or their countries because i do not have them with me. You can go to National Parks and Wildlife Management if you want full information…otherwise I might give you wrong information,“ Nhema told Radio VOP on Thursday at the sidelines of the World Rhino Day commemorations.
It is estimated the country has a population of 700 rhinos and the numbers are dwindling.