‘Communities key in conservation’

GOVERNMENT should come up with a broad-based empowerment initiative for local communities in the conservation and wildlife areas to help the fight against poachers, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi has said.

Staff Writer

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, Mzembi said communities are disconnected and indifferent to the poaching problem because they are not part of the economic chain.

“Once in a while a peddler comes from Bulawayo or another city and slips US$300 into the villagers’ hands, in exchange for nine elephant bulls and they would not care less because they do not know its value as they are not part of the economic chain,” he said.

About 90 elephants were poisoned by poachers at Hwange National Park recently through cyanide poisoning.

Mzembi said for the past two years he has advocated a broad-based empowerment model for communities in conservation and wildlife areas.

“…The solution is to draft the people into this empowerment orbit of wildlife conservation and they will realise it is senseless to sell their heritage for 30 pieces of silver,” Mzembi said.

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