Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) director-general Fulton Mangwanya yesterday called on government to enact legislation to safeguard rangers who face serious threats from armed and dangerous poachers.

He said this at a funeral parlour in Harare where scores of Zimparks officials came to pay their last respects to the two rangers, Chidhumo Mabharani (49) and Timothy Tembo (35), who were found dead on Monday morning after a suspected attack by Zambian poachers they had apprehended on December 31.

“We have a serious problem with those from across the Zambezi River (Zambians). It is quite risky and unfortunate that we end up having such casualties. We want to lobby for a law that allows us to put handcuffs on poachers as well as for other areas in our line of work to avoid a similar occurrence,” he said.

ZimParks board chair, Justice Moses Chinhengo said the duty of the rangers is a difficult one which needs maximum protection for it to be executed well.

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“It is not easy to safeguard the country’s wealth. It is sad that poachers are after it and they claim lives of those who protect it. It is a difficult job, they need to be protected,” he said.

Justice Chinhengo urged rangers to continue working while they find ways to resolve issues threatening their service.

“We are really sorry. It’s something that wasn’t planned and it is difficult to accept,” he said while consoling the bereaved families.

ZimParks cluster manager, Sebungwe region, Midwell Kapesa said the loss was too big for the unit because the two were dedicated workers.

“Records will tell that the two were dedicated members. They were working all night on the day they met their fate when they arrested four Zambian nationals and seven locals. It was when they were transporting the Zambian nationals that they lost their lives,” he said.

“They were dedicated to duty and, as ZimParks, we have lost conservation heroes who were dedicated to their job.”

Mabharani left behind two minor children and a wife, while Tembo left behind one child and a wife.

The two will be buried today in Gokwe and Kariba, respectively.