A 40-year-old rifle-wielding Chipinge man who was recently caught poaching in a game safari has been sentenced to two years imprisonment.
Mwari Mapakame of Mangezi Village under Chief Musikavanhu’s area of Chipinge was found in possession of carcasses of a bushbuck and a grysbok as well as fresh python skin on Wednesday last of last week.
Mapakame appeared before Chipinge magistrate, Alfred Chinembiri and pleaded guilty to poaching in a safari area, possession of a firearm without a certificate, and hunting a specified and protected animal.
The magistrate sentenced Mapakame to 24 months in prison for unlawfully hunting two wild animals without a safari permit.
However, six months were suspended on condition of good behaviour, leaving him to serve 18 months.
Mapakame was also fined $30 000 for illegally possessing a firearm, while six months were wholly suspended for possessing a python skin.
Manicaland CID District spokesperson, Detective Sergeant Shake Shanu, told The Manica Post that Mapakame was arrested at Chipinge Safari Game Park, Middle Sabi in Chipinge.
He said a game ranger, Simbarashe Makumire, was on patrol at Kilo Base with fellow game rangers when they heard three gunshots within their area of jurisdiction. Said Shanu:
They quickly alerted Mr Dudzai Manyawo of Chipinge Safari Staff Quarters who mobilised manpower to man all potential exit points of the suspected armed poachers.
Mr Manyawo also enlisted the services of Changadzi Support Unit details who were on patrol in the area and also Save Valley Anti-Poaching Tracking Specialists to assist with tracker dogs.
CID details from the Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit in Chipinge and police officers from Changadzi Support Unit discovered a trail of blood near Kilo Base.
Detective Sergeant Shanu said tracker dogs were set to track the blood, leading to the arrest of Mapakame. He said:
Mapakame was found in possession of a shotgun rifle with two live rounds of ammunition and four spent cartridges, a hunting torch, a flick knife, and a pair of catapults.
The accused also had in his possession carcasses of a bushbuck and a grysbok with a total value of US$3 500 and also fresh python skin valued at US$2 000.
Mapakame told detectives that he had borrowed the shotgun from Sydney Jenya of Jenya Two Village under Chief Musikavanhu’s area for temporary use.
The police made a follow-up for Jenya at his known addresses but failed to locate him. Said Shanu:
His wife, Mrs Chipo Jenya was interviewed and said Jenya had gone to Mozambique that same day to attend a family gathering.
She, however, confirmed that Jenya had a licensed shotgun and keeps the keys to the gun cabinet.
The bushbuck recovered from Mapakame weighed 30,85 kilograms while the Grysbok carcass weighed 4,10 kilograms. The python skin also measured 280 centimetres. | The Manica Post