Giraffes at Haka Game Park, about 12 east of the capital along the Mutare highway, adjacent to Mabvuku high density suburb, have now become a target for poachers who are k!lling them for meat, an official said on Monday.
Haka Game Park chief executive officer, Mohammed Hassim Surtee said previously the poachers have been targeting animals like impala, kudu, zebra and it was the first time that a giraffe has been killed in the park, prompting measures to increase patrols.
Haka Game Park incorporates 2 000 hectares of land in which Cleveland Dam and a vitally important wetland are found.
Surtee said patrols have been increased both during the day and night with the guards equipped with guns and dogs, while the perimeter fence has been electrified and the Zimbabwe Republic Police expected to join in the fight against poaching.
“Several animals have been lost here that include impala, kudu and zebra which makes it quite a surprise that a big animal like a giraffe was k!lled and taken away, these are all k!lled for meat not any other purpose,” he said.
The giraffe is a large hoofed mammal belonging to the genus Giraffa and it is the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant on Earth.
A newborn giraffe is about 6 feet (1.9 meters) tall weighing 150 pounds (68 kilograms) and grows about 4 feet (1.2 meters) in their first year of life.
Adult male giraffes range from 16-18 feet (4.8-5.5 m) tall and weigh as much as 4 200 pounds (1,900 kg) while females reach 14-16 feet (4.3-4.8 m) tall and weigh up to 2 600 pounds (1,180 kg).
Mukuvisi river, which feeds into Lake Chivero, starts at Cleveland Dam which used to be the source of water for Harare City before 1980 and the Ramsar Convention paved way for Cleveland to be decommissioned and protected as a wetland.
The Ramsar Convention, also known as the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, is an international agreement promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975 and since then, almost 90 percent of United Nations member states have become “Contracting Parties”.
Surtee said sand poachers along the eastern boundary of the Cleveland Dam catchment area, particularly along Mabvuku high density suburb, are causing damage to the wetlands since sand poaching has a negative impact which is contributing to climate change.
SOURCE : NEWZIANA