Suspected buffalo poacher in court

A 42-YEAR-OLD Bulawayo professional hunter yesterday appeared at the Victoria Falls Magistrates’ Court facing allegations of illegally shooting a buffalo.

NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Mariat Mashonganyika of Highmount pleaded not guilty to failing to supervise a hunt he conducted for his clients when he appeared before Victoria Falls resident magistrate Sharon Rosemani yesterday.

Prosecutor Takunda Ndovorwi told the court that on April 8, Mashonganyika received a client who had booked a 10-day game hunt at Jafuta Safaris Lodge.

Mashonganyika and his client from America, a South African agent, a tracker and a Forestry Commission game scout conducted a hunt at Jafuta Safaris and the team killed a female buffalo in an area not authorised in their hunting permit. A State witness told the court that Mashonganyika was involved in the entire hunting incident.

“They told us that they wanted to take a walk around the lodge then moments later we heard a gunshot. We did not hear any report and hours later during a search we discovered a shot female buffalo and Mashonganyika and his client’s footprints there,” the witness said.

“We then reported the matter to the police and they helped us lay an ambush. The same evening we saw his client coming towards where the dead buffalo was driving Mashonganyika’s truck. The car stopped and someone holding a flashlight noticed us and they started the vehicle and drove off. We caught up with them and when we asked them to produce a stamped hunting document they failed. They produced the document the following day, but the stamp did not match with the day the buffalo was shot,” the witness said.

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