THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has stepped up efforts to combat the new wave of wildlife crime which has resulted in a spike in poaching of small game.

While the country has made strides to suppress poaching of huge species such as rhinos and elephants, the Covid 19 pandemic has raised unintended consequences with revelations that the country is recording a spike in low-level bush meat poaching.

Speaking to ZBC News Zimparks Spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said this new wave of wildlife crime is targeting Plains game including impala and buffaloes.

We confirm that poaching of iconic species such as elephants has been contained even as we recorded 20 elephants poached last year.

“We believe there is no reason to raise the red flag because our operations to protect this population has been heightened.

“Our concern has however been on Plains game such as impala and buffaloes where we have recorded an increase, especially during this Covid pandemic. This is something we are working on to ensure we keep this challenge under check,” he said.

The increase in cases of poached small game highlights an existing gap which has not effectively addressed other species that are under threat.

Even as the country has a large population of plains game, experts highlight a concern where these poaching activities can negatively impact on the survival of common Plains game. -zbc