Zimbabwe's wildlife agency suspends boss over missing rhino horns

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 28, 2016 6:07 AM

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's wildlife authority has suspended its director general and is investigating the disappearance of 228 kg (500 pounds) of the agency's stored rhino horn, it said on Tuesday.

The southern African nation keeps in storage 70 tonnes of ivory from elephants and rhinos - worth at least $35 million - and is seeking support from neighboring countries to engage in international trade in ivory.

Namibia is also bidding to open international ivory trade but Kenya is leading initiatives for a complete global ban.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZPWA) said in a statement that it had sent Edson Chidziya on leave with full pay to facilitate the investigation.

"The move has been taken to allow for an audit. This follows anomalies in the rhino horn stock piles amounting to 228 kilograms," the ZPWA said. It gave no further details.

Chidziya declined to comment on his suspension.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Louise Ireland)