The Prosecutor General Hon Loyce Matanda-Moyo and the Acting Deputy Prosecutor General Mr Justin Uladi yesterday met officials from Tikki Hywood Foundation (THF), at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPAZ) Head office to discuss areas of mutual co-operation in combating wildlife crime.
THF was founded by Ms Lisa Hywood in 1994 and has been partnering with the NPAZ, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zim Parks) on a number of initiatives to combat wildlife crime for many years. Currently the NPAZ, ZRP, THF and ZimParks are collaborating on a campaign against wildlife crime.
The Prosecutor General said that the NPAZ and THF’s collaboration holds immense potential to turn the tide against wildlife crime in Zimbabwe and is a testament to the country’s commitment to protecting its natural heritage and ensuring a brighter future for its wildlife.
Hon Loyce Matanda-Moyo also said that the two organisations will leverage their partnership to strengthen co-operation in combating wildlife crime, share intelligence, expertise, and best practices to disrupt trafficking networks and close loopholes that are being exploited by criminals to avoid justice.
This year the NPAZ will be collaborating and partnering with THF on a number of projects to raise public awareness about the devastating impact of wildlife crime on Zimbabwe’s ecosystems and communities. Educational campaigns and outreach programs can foster a culture of conservation and empower citizens to report suspicious activity.
The partnership will also focus on the training of Prosecutors to ensure that Prosecutors keep up with the ever changing trends in wild life crime. This will help to ensure that the NPAZ delivers quality prosecution and reduce the backlog of wildlife crimes.
Wildlife crimes are not only limited to the exploitation of flora and fauna through poaching, trafficking, processing and selling of trophies and live animals, but also include other illegal activities such as money laundering, corruption and fraud.
Hon Loyce Matanda-Moyo said that the NPAZ appreciates the efforts that THF has made in the fight against corruption and welcomes the opportunity to deepen mutual co-operation with THF. “The large-scale worldwide illicit wildlife trade has a staggering impact on wildlife and the environment, therefore the NPAZ like other players in the criminal justice value chain, needs all the help it can get to ensure Zimbabwe finds sustainable solutions to defeat wildlife crime.”