A 22-year-old suspected poacher was shot dead after exchanging gunfire with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers in Hurungwe last week.

Artwell Siyonda of Nyakasikana village under Chief Chundu was buried at his rural village on Thursday, about 85km north of Karoi town.

Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident.

He said the deceased, together with two other suspects who were apprehended, were the first to fire at rangers after they were cornered near Madzikita area, which borders the national park.

“It is true that a suspected poacher lost his life on September 21 when they were ambushed by rangers who were on routine patrol in the game area,” Farawo said.

“The poachers are said to have first fired gunshots at rangers and one was shot dead, while we managed to arrest two suspects and others fled.”

He said the zero tolerance policy on poaching was yielding positive results, adding the loss of life was accidental as rangers only fire shots as a last resort and under difficult circumstances.

“We value human life, but at the same time, we urge society to respect nature as well as animals that are a heritage for future generations,” Farawo said.

“We urge society to respect that national parks are no-go and protected areas that we guard jealously. As much as we respect human life and feel sorry for loss of life, we call for a holistic approach to keep our animals in these areas.”

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