Communities urged to preserve wildlife for future generations
Harare (New Ziana) -Communities have been urged to live in harmony with wildlife and ensure that they are safe for the benefit of future generations.
The call was made by acting deputy Prosecutor General Michael Reza on Monday while officiating at the ongoing Zimbabwe animal law conference being held in the capital.
Reza said every citizen has the responsibility to keep the wildlife safe on behalf of future generations, adding that poachers and their ilk know that the law and all decent people are against them.
“They have upped their ante and are proving extremely difficult to apprehend, but we must all be on the lookout. We will not allow them to outwit us,” he said.
He said from January this year to date, forty-five cases have been brought before the only court in Harare that handles cases to do with animals, with nine having been completed so far.
Reza said just like human beings, animals also have rights but they lack the capacity on their own to demand or sustain these for themselves, and therefore depend on humans for protection.
He said at creation, man used animals for food, clothing, transport, companionship and sport, and there was nothing inherently wrong at that stage.
“Then man moved a gear up and started using animals for fashion! Animal skins, tusks, feathers etcetera suddenly became tools for fashion statements. So far so bad!” he said.
“In recent times the wheels have really come off with man now using animals for medical experimentation.”
Soon after independence, the Zimbabwe government introduced the Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) program as a way of discouraging communities living adjacent to national parks from poaching wildlife through using them for their benefit.
Prior to that, communities did not value wild animals since they destroyed their crops and often killed or injured their members, resulting in poaching for meat as well as for sale.
Over the years, the program has expanded to include other natural resources such as mopani worms (madora/amacimbi), fish, thatching grass, sand, granite and teakwood, with all Rural District Councils in the country now participating in it.