THE story of a police officer, and his two civilian accomplices, who were in court over the weekend after they were allegedly found in illegal possession of ivory worth $1 million, makes sad reading.
While this story is still before the courts and may not be discussed, there are many other cases of illegal trade in ivory, which is being made to thrive by illegal poachers, who continue to haunt the animal kingdom.
As a result, the future of wildlife in Africa is in danger.
Southern Africa, in an area where the national borders of five countries converge — being the upper Zambezi River and Okavango basins and Delta, the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, the south-eastern part of Angola, south-western Zambia, the northern wild-lands of Botswana and western Zimbabwe – is home to 61 percent of the world elephant population.
That is more than half of the elephants in the world.
It is a huge figure that not only draws tourists to the region but should also benefit the countries economically.
Cases of poaching continue to increase in this area and in Zimbabwe and measures should be taken to root out such evil practices that are threatening to make elephants, rhinos and many other endangered animal species extinct.
These acts, against rhinos and elephants mostly, are occurring every other week and the populations of these animals continue to diminish.
The sight of a rhino, whose horn has been butchered off after its encounter with a heartless poacher, is the very personification of cruelty.
It is the kind of cruelty which has seen 90 percent of the Zimbabwean rhino population diminish since 1970.
The rhino is fast becoming extinct in Zimbabwe, in particular, and the world in general.
The increase in rhino poaching has seen the rhino facing a real danger of extinction.
So real is this danger that – if everything continues at this rate – we will see the last rhino die during our generation’s time.
As a region, and as Zimbabwe, now is the time to start doing something about it.
It is up to us as a country – or as Southern Africa – to preserve these important species, to safeguard and protect them.
There is a reason why God gave us the responsibility to safeguard these special animals.
Legislators and the courts should work hand-in-hand to bring the cruel men behind the killing of the elephant and rhinos to book.
The five rhino species must be protected and countries privileged to still have the animals, like Zimbabwe, should spearhead raising awareness of the threats to their survival.
If we really want, we can protect these unfortunate beautiful animal species and ensure that our children’s kids will still have the pleasure of knowing of their existence.
Africa is the world’s last hope of protecting these animals and Zimbabwe should play her part to safeguard them.
It is, therefore, commendable that the police and the justice system are arresting and putting poachers and all-related criminals to trial.