The Valley of the Shadow of Death
The Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe, touted as the biggest privately owned wildlife park in the world, has seen 1,600 wild animals killed since February, including antelope and at least two elephants and one lion, and police for the most part have been ignoring the poaching. The problems began when President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party encouraged the occupation of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe and squatters took down an electric fence separating wild animals from domestic ones and began clearing conservancy forestland to build houses and start farming. Zimbabwe used to be held up as an example of sustainable development, a country that was trying to balance environmental concerns along with its efforts to develop — for example, the conservancy began when ranchers discovered they could make more profit from ecotourism than from cattle. But Environment Minister Francis Nhema has been unsuccessful so far in his attempts to stop destruction of the conservancy.