The Minister of Water, Environment and Climate Oppah Muchinguri through her Ministry has embraced new cutting edge technology to increase the effectiveness and the efficiency of law enforcement that includes experimenting with drones in wildlife protection. The Minister said this while addressing Parliamentarians on Wildlife Management Challenge in Zimbabwe.
During the address at a local hotel, Muchinguri said that syndicated criminals are becoming hi-tech and oddly sophisticated in their offences whilst avoiding detection.
“The increased sophistication of methods employed by poachers has resulted in the need for us to also up our game and be a step ahead of these poachers,” Muchinguri said.
Additional methods include the use of sniffer dogs in Wildlife Protection and use of aircraft including helicopters and microlights according to the Environment Minister.
The Ministry has been facing many challenges regarding effectively curbing poaching, illegal wildlife trade and trafficking with at least 12 elephants being poisoned with cyanide this year.
The challenges include porous border posts and resource constraints such as inadequate patrol equipment.
“Wildlife areas are large, many and scattered throughout the country and some are located in remote areas with poor access,” said Muchinguri.
Both gazetted and ungazetted wildlife areas cover about 26% of Zimbabwe’s surface area.
According to reports, poachers have been using cyanide poison to kill elephants in the country. In 2013, 105 elephants were poisoned to death, 21 in 2014, 99 in 2015 and 24 in 2016.
Despite these challenges, the Ministry is contemplating the use of radars and drones in wildlife protection.