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World turns back on Zim’s wildlife



IN June 2002 I wrote a letter of appeal to the outside world targeting organisations that claim to be concerned about the preservation and sustainable utilisation of wildlife.


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In my concern about the Wildlife Producers Association becoming defunct, I wrote expressing my disgust at the lack of response and action by conservation groups and governments in this global village we live in, in allowing the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.


This inaction has now resulted in the collapse of the Wildlife Producers Association of Zimbabwe because commercial farmers who were removed from their land now have no income and can no longer pay levies to the association.


The association was founded by dedicated men and women who built up an envious record of wildlife management and sustainable utilisation of the environment. We were leaders in this field in Africa and indeed in the world. But alas, no more. The violent and illegal land grabs have done immense damage to our wildlife.


It is terrible to think that the world has turned its back on us as the destruction of Zimbabwe’s wildlife continues. The loss, according to our displaced wildlife producers, has now reached an alarming 80% since the violent invasions of commercial farms started in February 2000.


The one thing which stands out clearly is that a few executives connected to wildlife and environmental issues bask in the glory of their positions and benefit from all that is on offer. They do nothing about the wanton destruction of our wild creatures, other than talk and pass the buck down the line to those who are equally as ineffectual, and eventually to the concerned underlings who try to do what is right but are hamstrung by politics.


We need action, not diplomatic manoeuvring, nor quiet diplomacy. Enough of this slaughter. The United Nations and foreign governments talk about the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Zimbabwe, but what about our environment and wildlife? Is there no concern for them?


The numerous letters of appeal sent out to organisations and conservation-minded bodies worldwide for financial assistance and help in publicity were ignored. What is it we need to do to help the wildlife in Zimbabwe?


Soon many will be extinct and the world will be a poorer place and if the environmental groups do not step in now to pressurise their respective governments we can kiss our wildlife good bye. The global village needs to do something now to stop the lawlessness, possibly by some hard talk and publicity about this environmental disaster caused by human greed for power.


The recent World Summit on Environment and Sustainable Development held in South Africa was a farce. All the delegates have gone home after wining and dining and generally feasting on taxpayers’ money and many more humans and animals have died since then. While human abuses are intolerable, we should not forget animal abuses which are continuing unabated. Those who attended the South African conference should be reminded of their high ideals and visions of a better world.


There are groups of people in Zimbabwe who are trying their best to do what is right, but their hands are tied by the authorities and even their freedom is under threat from the draconian laws passed by the Zimbabwean government.


Concerned Farmer,

Harare.

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