Massacre of the innocents: How starving families slaughter Zimbabwe's wild animals just to put food in their mouths

Published on 15 April 2009

The skin of a giraffe lies discarded like an old coat on the ground. Alongside it lie a few bones. Isaac, a game warden of some 30 years' experience, points at the remains of the once elegant animal. 'This is what we are up against,' he tells me. 'How can we protect the animals when people are so hungry?' A country that is battling with starvation, cholera and 90 per cent unemployment now faces an extra challenge. Zimbabwe's starving millions are targeting wildlife in the country's famous game parks as a source of food and income. [...] The UN's World Food Programme now has responsibility for some 80 per cent of the people of Zimbabwe - a bigger percentage of the population than during the Ethiopian famine in the early Eighties. No wonder life expectancy in Zimbabwe today is just 34 for a woman and 37 for a man.

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