Zimbabwe just handed down the heaviest ever sentence for rhino poaching. Read on to learn just what will happen to this rhino poacher.
Several months ago, the Minister of Environment for Zimbabwe announced that the government will be focusing more effort on stopping rhino poaching and increasing penalties for poachers who got caught.
Since then, police have arrested several rhino poachers in the country and a court in Masvingo just handed down the heaviest sentence ever for rhino poaching: 35 years in prison. The poacher is named Tawengwa Machona and was a member of a poaching ring in the country until he was caught after killing two rhinos in the Save Valley Conservancy in southeastern Zimbabwe.
Two more members of the poaching ring are in police custody and are awaiting trial and there are another two members of the gang that the police are still searching for. It is highly likely that these poachers will receive similar sentences.
Until this historically stiff sentence for rhino poaching was handed down, the typical sentence was nine years in prison or less. Lax enforcement of rhino poaching laws combined with the incredibly high price of rhino horn on the black market have combined to fuel an increase in rhino poaching to almost epidemic proportions.
Even with this success, anti-poaching efforts in Zimbabwe still face an uphill battle. Along with the previously mentioned factors working against anti-poaching efforts, there is also suspicion that the government of Zimbabwe, specifically the secret police, are directly involved in elephant and rhino poaching. Until the root causes of poaching have been dealt with, conditions will remain difficult for elephants and rhinos in the country.