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Poachers killed 144 hippopotamus and 111 buffaloes between 2015 and 2017 in the area where the Tchuma Tchato community wildlife programme is being implemented in the western Mozambican province of Tete.
Oscar Zalimba, of the Tete Provincial Directorate of Land, Environment and Rural Development, told journalists that the methods used by the poachers included snares and traps, conventional and homemade firearms and poison.
“Tchuma Tchato” is under implementation in Cahora Bassa, Changara, Chifunde, Chiúta, Macanga, Mágoè, Marávia and Zumbu districts, where there is great wild life potential. The tourism this attracts can be s significant source of revenue for the state and for the communities living in the area.
The balance sheet from poaching over the 2015-2017 period, said Zalimba, was the slaughter of 608 animals, whose carcasses were found by patrols of game wardens.
In addition to the hippos and buffaloes, the poachers killed 54 elephants, 201 antelopes of various species, 31 monkeys, 53 warthogs and other wild pigs, four crocodiles, four porcupines, two lions and a zebra.
Wardens captured 260 poachers, including Mozambicans, Zimbabweans and Zambians. They seized 13 automatic weapons, 154 artisanal firearms, 16 spears, 34 axes, and over 3,200 snares of various types, among other material used in poaching.
During their 2,883 patrols, the wardens also confiscated two elephant tusks, 46 fishing nets, two motor boats, a tractor, and a quantity of gunpowder.
Zalimba considered the situation as worrying because the true number of animals poached is certainly in excess of 608. This is because the authorities have only been able to count the carcasses they find. Animals taken away by poachers, mostly for meat, will not show up in the figures.