Three nabbed for illegal possession of leopard skins

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By Staff Reporter

POLICE has arrested three men for illegal possession of seven leopard skins in Victoria Falls.

In a statement, police said the three were apprehended in an undercover operation.

“On March 11, police in Victoria Falls arrested Lesley Maclaren Mashonganyika (39), Michael Dube (43) and Wilson Dzimbo (41) for illegal possession of seven Leopard skins.

“Members of the police disguised as potential buyers of the skins, leading to the arrest of the suspects,” read the statement.

Possession of wildlife skins is prohibited under Zimbabwean law, Parks and Wildlife Act 20:14.

Government has been at the forefront fighting poaching.

Five people appeared in court recently after they were arrested on allegations of illegally possessing four elephant tusks massing 26.9kg of unmarked ivory which they intended to trade at White House Shops in Harare.

The ivory was valued at US$4 573.

In 2022, The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) arrested 36 armed poachers inside the country’s national parks as the number of endangered rhinos killed for their horns continues to rise.

According to a report by Zimparks, Zimbabwe records a high number of poaching cases every year with animals such as elephants and rhinos being targeted for their horns, which are highly coveted in Asian countries.

Some of the poachers are said to be from neighbouring countries such as Zambia.

According to ZimParks, 322 elephants were killed by poachers between 2016 and 2019, largely for their tusks. In two separate incidents at the expansive Hwange National Park, 90 elephants were killed in 2013 and 40 in 2015, after poachers laced cyanide on oranges at watering holes, in what some conservationists described as industrial-scale poaching.