Zim, US lock horns on elephant trophy imports

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HARARE — Zimbabwe has blasted the United States for suspending the importing of elephant trophies.

It described the decision as a blow to the conservation programme.

The US placed the ban on Zimbabwe and Tanzania because of allegations about questionable management practices.

However, Zimbabwean authorities called the ban an open invitation to poachers.

“It will affect our capacity to pay the rangers. It will affect our capacity to run an efficient system which will also impact negatively on the communities joining most of our national parks, where the communities were benefiting,” Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere said.

Meanwhile, an animal rights activist said a new approach was needed.

“We have to come up with an idea or a way to make it work, where we are going to need the international community to assist us to go back to the grassroots and make sure that whatever percentage is raised goes back to the community,” Zimbabwean Conservation Task Force representative Johnnie Rodrigues, said.

The US has committed to reviewing the ban in 2015.

— ENCA