Monday, 23 November 2015

Corruption and elephant poaching in Zimbabwe

Rory Young works for Chengeta Wildlife, a non-profit organisation that was registered in the
United States last year to support the efforts of Zimbabwe wildlife conservationists.

He believes that his anti-poaching training operations in the Kariba area were about to make
real headway when he was suddenly summoned to report to the Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO).

A few days after the encounter with the secret service, he had left Zimbabwe for good and the
country's loss had become Malawi's gain.

"When I protested that I had been given a two-year residence permit in order to train anti-
poaching personnel, that I was training police with the authority of police headquarters and
with the permission of the appropriate authority for the area, I was told to shut up, that they
were above the police, and that even if I had done nothing wrong, they would find a reason to
arrest me and throw away the key unless I stayed away from the area and did no training in
Zimbabwe." he said.

Young said that the CIO wanted him and other conservationists far away from Matusadona and
Nyaminyami National Parks.

Many conservationists think that rogue members of the country's security forces have a hand in
the resurgent cases of cyanide elephant poaching that has seen more than 60 elephants killed
for their ivory in Hwange alone.

While the actual killing may be done by some of the desperate locals suffering from extreme 
poverty, it very unlikely that the illegal export of such quantities could be facilitated without the knowledge and involvement of corrupt senior officials of government agencies.

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