FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube says the government will in 2019 work on strengthening Zimparks and others institutions to enhance wildlife management in the country.
Although Zimparks is tasked with overseeing management of wildlife in the country, the institution had not been receiving government support for its operations in the past years.
This lack of support saw the institution failing to pay its workers’ salaries for some months and also failing to effectively carry out its mandate.
The lack of resources towards Zimparks saw some unscrupulous people taking advantage of the situation to engage in poaching activities around the country.
Zimbabwe has lost a lot of elephants and many other animals including the famous Cecil the lion to poachers while others have been going for some smaller animals.
Animals are important for the country’s safari tourism sector as Zimbabwe is among the few countries that have all the Big Five animals still roaming in natural habitats around the country.
Presenting his 2019 national budget in the National Assembly, Minister Ncube said the country’s wildlife is under threat and there is a need to enhance its security.
“Poaching and loss of habitat remain the greatest threat to the country’s wildlife resources. Government is, therefore, strengthening institutions related to the wildlife industry such as Zimparks, to deal with rogue operators who continue to bring the industry into disrepute internationally.
“Individual farmers with low capacity for cropping especially in the southern regions can engage in wildlife ranching. These farmers will be assisted by the government to form joint-ventures with the private sector in wildlife projects,” he said.
Although there have been cases of poaching reported in some areas of the country, Zimbabwe is generally held in high esteem in terms of wildlife management.
Some of the places where animal rehabilitation is taking place in Zimbabwe include Painted Dog Conservation in Hwange, Wild is Life is Harare, Antelope Park in Gweru among many others.