A MEMBER of a poaching syndicate has appeared in court for allegedly gunning down a bull elephant valued at US$50 000.
Loveridge Juru (34) of Chivhu appeared Wednesday before Kariba Magistrate Tendai Banda facing charges of poaching and was remanded in custody to March 17 for trial.
The State case, led by Carren Modina Musiiwa, is that on September 23, 2020 around 8pm, accused person and two accomplices proceeded to Matusadonha National Park, Kariba armed with a .303 rifle to hunt elephants.
Upon arrival the gang shot an elephant bull using the firearm and the gunshot was heard by rangers on patrol in the Chura area.
Rangers advanced towards the direction of the gunshot and observed from a distance of about 150 metres, but could not positively identify the trio’s faces due to the thicket.
At that moment, a helicopter on routine patrol appeared from above prompting the poachers to flee the scene.
Rangers moved to the scene and discovered a fresh elephant carcass and reported the matter to Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Minerals, Flora and Fauna Unit (MFFU) at Kariba who attended the scene.
A search was conducted around the cordoned off area and a .303 cartridge was recovered about 50 metres from the carcass.
Also recovered was a sack containing a home-made knife, an axe, cap, worksuit bottom, jersey and denim shorts.
Elephant was skinned and a pair of ivory was recovered and handed over to parks authorities for safe-keeping.
During the process of skinning, a bullet head was removed from animal’s head.
Court heard that in September last year, Juru was nabbed in Chiredzi for possession of a .303 rifle without a permit.
CID Chiredzi sent the recovered firearm for forensic examinations and it matched the recovered cartridge and bullet head, leading to Juru’s arrest.